Monday, January 30, 2012

Some Key Local Stats Updated

Nearly a year ago, we introduced you to the innovative website called TownStats on our EcoRealty blog. At that time, we posted comparison chart for Bloomfield, Montclair and Nutley that has recently been updated, along with the addition of demographic stats (click on chart to enlarge).

TownStats is an non-profit, non-partisan online database designed to give you access to important information on your town, its budget, and its taxes in a format that makes it easy to make comparisons with other towns. A project of The Independent Center, TownStats is a prototype that will soon be rolled out in other states. The project aims to provide the access and transparency that citizens need to participate fully in decision-making at the local level.

To help compare municipal spending, TownStats shows town-by-town spending in standardized categories and provides an easy comparison tool to evaluate differences. These tools are designed to give your and your elected representatives a clearer picture on potential areas to reduce taxes and/or improve services.

The project was funded through the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers as a joint project of The Fund For New Jersey and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Westinghouse Memories

Jean Giaimis just posted this request on the popular Facebook page "I Grew Up in Bloomfield, NJ":
Folks, I really need your help. I'm trying to contact people who either grew up in the Watsessing area or worked in Westinghouse or knew people who worked there. I understand if you are busy and don't have the time to speak with me, so I've created a one page survey that you don't even have to put your name on. After speaking with some people, I've expanded time frame: 1938-2000. Please know that anything you reply to will be respected as confidential which in this case means that no names will be used. If you are willing to fill out the survey, you can contact me or you can call me at 973-736-5873. Thanks for your help!

Friday, January 27, 2012

When Forests Mattered

Interesting forest oriented NNJ Map from 1900 centering on Bloomfield.(Click on map to enlarge)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Joint Fire Deal With Glen Ridge Goes Up in Smoke

Breaking news from from Bloomfield Life:
Bloomfield officials and its fire union president were shocked Tuesday morning to learn the bid went to Montclair. Bloomfield Mayor Raymond McCarthy said it appeared Montclair was able to see Bloomfield's bid before it submitted its own.
"If you look at the bid, it's just under ours," the mayor said. "I'll say honestly, we allowed Glen Ridge to play us. I'm not happy about that. But you know, we gave it a shot."
"Those are serious allegations," Montclair Mayor Jerry Fried said of McCarthy's allegation.
McCarthy "is definitely not accurate...."

1/28 update:
Baristanet did an interesting piece on the issue -- mostly from a Montclair perspective. Call it sourgrapes, but most of the many comments thought Montclair may have gotten the raw end of the deal.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sidewalking on the Wild Side

"I left for work in the morning and I had a sidewalk. When I came home, the sidewalk was gone," Rosemary Ceracchio says.
The Bloomfield homeowner was shocked to find the sidewalk she'd recently paid $1,300 to fix was completely ripped up. She called Mayor MaCarthy's office and said, "Someone stole my sidewalk."
The "thief" turned out to be a contractor working for Bloomfield's Engineer, Paul Lasek. The contractor ripped out the new sidewalk.

Last August, Ceracchio's home owner's insurance company inspected her property and cited her for cracked front walks. She was told that she had 30 days to fix the problem or potentially lose her insurance.

Four months later, the city sent the crew without notifying Ceracchio.
The town said it was Ceracchio's fault for not contacting the city that her sidewalk no longer needed repair.
After Arnold Diaz, the "Shame on You" reporter at Fox 5 News, contacted the town about the issue (neither Lasek, or any town representative would go on camera), a new sidewalk was quickly poured. Ceracchio is glad to have a sidewalk again, but she was sorry that she had to shell out the $1,300 when she could have had the repairs for free.

The way things have been going in town lately, Shame on You may soon have Bloomfield on speed-dial.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Suggestion for Filtering Bloomfield Water

As of this evening, there have been no updates from the town on the contamination issues mentioned in our last post, but Baristanet's publication of the alert has provoked many comments from residents. Tuesday's council agenda has no mention of the issue, but the public comment portion of the meeting may well see some fireworks.

Jane Calif, former head of Bloomfield's Recycling Committee, suggests an alternative to both tap water and bottled water:

I have had a Multi-Pure filter on my sink for a number of years. It is one of the best. You can read about it at their website. It takes out the most pollutants that could possibly be in your water including the one listed in the Bloomfield Water Dept. report: trihalomethanes - which is a by-product of chlorine.

I do not believe in bottled water. There have been studies which show there are brands which are simply bottled from municipal water supplies and not from pristine springs as they advertise. There have been pollutants found in such water. Bottled water that is in plastic has been found to have leached chemicals from the plastic into the water, especially if they have been heated such as being left in a hot car or in the sun. Aquifers have been lowered by companies sucking up the water to bottle it or for production of sodas. This has compromised the water systems in countries such as India where farmers who are already facing drought, find less water in the water table due in part to water extraction by companies. Their farming has been very negatively affected.

The whole idea of paying for water that we used to get for free is a way for big corporations to make money off of what should be a right - clean water. There has to be a way to have clean water in our homes without, for ex., using so much chlorine, resulting in by-products that may put our health in danger....


There are also less expensive options that will help.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


(Note: Bloomfield's Official website has long since been capable of updating residents on issues like this. We will add updates here, as we receive them, but suggest calling their suggested hotline -- Water Operator at 973-680-4168 -- until this is resolved.)

Total Trihalomethanes Violation at Bloomfield Water Department

Our water system recently violated a drinking water standard. Although this incident was not an emergency, as our customers, you have a right to know what happened and what we are doing to correct this situation.

We routinely monitor for the presence of drinking water contaminants. Testing results from third quarter and fourth quarter 2011 show that our system exceeded the standard, or maximum contaminant level (MCL), for Trihalomethanes. The standard for Trihalomethanes is 80 ug/l. It is determined by averaging all samples collected by our system for the last 12 months. The level of Trihalomethanes averaged at our system for third quarter 2011 was 83 ug/l and fourth quarter 2011 was 86 ug/l.

What should I do?
• There is nothing you need to do unless you have a severely compromised immune system, have an infant, or are elderly. These people may be at increased risk and should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.

• You do not need to boil your water or take other corrective actions. If a situation arises where the water is no longer safe to drink, you will be notified within 24 hours. We will announce any emergencies on Channel 35, Bloomfield Public TV.

What does this mean?
This is not an emergency. If it had been an emergency, you would have been notified with 24 hours.

People who drink water containing trihalomethanes in excess of the MCL over many years may experience problems with their liver, kidneys, or central nervous system, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.

What is being done?
The Township of Bloomfield purchases 100% of its water supply from the City of Newark, and does not maintain any sources or treatment processes.

We are working with the City of Newark, our water supplier, to improve water quality and establish compliance.

We intend to perform additional monitoring in our service area to better characterize the water supply and elevated Trihalomethanes levels.

We will evaluate our hydrant flushing program (normally performed twice per year) to determine if additional flushing in our service area will minimize water age and reduce Trihalomethanes (disinfection by-products) in our water supply.

For more information, please contact Anthony Marucci, Water Operator at 973-680-4168 or Township of Bloomfield, Engineering Department – Room 203, One Municipal Plaza, Bloomfield, N.J. 07003

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

This notice is being sent to you by The Township of Bloomfield Water Department. State Water System ID# NJ0702001. Date Distributed: January 11, 2012.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Covering the News

The cover photos on last week's Bloomfield newsweeklies were a study in contrasts, reflecting each paper's publishing model. The Independent Press still has the largest circulation, reflecting its traditional status as the "paper of record" -- where all the legal ads were required to be buried. Only last month, the council voted unanimously to move its ad budget to Blife, so they may soon catch up. In an effort By its Worrall Publisher to economize, The Press has grown more distant from township issues -- rarely editorializing and eliminating such niceties as letters to the editor. With a strong online presence via its North Jersey Media publisher, Blife was the first to add color and invite residents to write extended Op Ed articles. The one saving grace of the Press is that they still manage to keep most of their stories on one page. Full disclosure: I once freelanced for North Jersey Media, but strongly believe having two weekly papers in Bloomfield is a great benefit for all residents. I still pickup both papers, but often check for Shoprite coupons before buying The Press.
If only they would bring back that editorial page...,

Bloomfield Life: circulation 1,946
Independent Press of Bloomfield: circulation 3,000-4000 86,000 website visitors/month

Newark Star-Ledger 210,586

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Open Letter from A Third Warder

The following was sent from a friend to their new Third Ward Councilman:
Our few remaining business owners along Bloomfield Avenue, near the torn-down buildings of the “redevelopment center” are totally demoralized. Yesterday afternoon I was purchasing some items from one of the merchants located in the center of town, along Bloomfield Avenue, when he informed me that he was planning to close shop in about a year. He told me that he and all the other small merchants were totally fed up with the town because nothing has been done in more than 10 years, and that nothing, in his opinion, would be done because of all the lawsuits and shenanigans. He was also very angry at the fact that he pays lots of money for police and fire protection and that neither he nor any of the other merchants EVER see a police officer on foot. PLEASE bring this up with Chief Goul. I tried to convince this merchant that things will change, but he kept on telling me that we would NEVER get anything done and that there is no foot traffic other than homeless individuals, panhandlers, and would-be thieves. I was very disappointed to hear how he and other merchants feel about our town, but I understand perfectly the reason for his frustration.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Ron Rice: Your Next Congressman?

Bloomfield's First Ward may soon see a heated congressional fight between it's newest designated congressman, Donald Payne, and Ron C. Rice, the son of it's State Senator, Ronald Rice.
Rice has formed an exploratory committee and intends to make a final decision about running sometime in February.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Marching Towards March BiCentennial

Here's an interesting photo of Bloomfield High School students, dressed in pioneer costumes, proudly marching in Bloomfield's Centennial parade down Broad Street.
Perfect time to remind everyone to take a look at Bloomfield's new BiCentennial website. When you click on the link on the right you'll get a preview of the main events planned starting with a Gala March 23 kickoff event at Bloomfield High. Starting on January 14, the website is scheduled to begin adding links to more events and historical memorabilia.
If you want to get involved NOW, come to Saturday's volunteer meeting. It's at 10:30 AM in Bloomfield College's Science Building on Liberty Street. If you can't make it, the next one is Jan. 28th.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Beyond the Bloomfield Greenway

I started this blog 5 years ago when Bloomfield's Master Plan began including elements of a greenway plan into it's approved "grand design" for the township. The earliest posts included many of the slides that opened a presentation in our "Greenway Forum" at Bloomfield College's Van Fossen Auditorium.

While will continue to advocate for the greenway as well as other local environmental and green issues, we have long since expanded the blog to include many other issues that we hope will make our town a better place to live.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Renewed and Updated Council

Bloomfield councilmen Elias Chalet, Nicholas Joanow and Carlos Bernard were formally sworn in to their respective ward council seats at noon today. Mayor Ray McCarthy noted that Bernard is the first Hispanic elected to office in Bloomfield and Chalet is the first elected foreign-born person.

With a capacity audience in the council chambers, Joanow, the second ward councilman, took his seat for a second term, joined by newcomers Chalet and Bernard, in the first and third wards. Peter Strumolo, Bloomfield's Democratic Party Leader, was conspicuously looking on in the doorway(photo). County Clerk Christoper Durkin introduced Bernard by praising "his loyalty"(party?) and Bernard followed up by asserting that the third ward had "not had any leadership" during the past three years. The ward had been represented by Robert Ruane, who lost to Bernard in the June primary. This comment drew audible hissing from the audience.

State Senator Ron Rice administered the oath while Nick Jr, held the bible and the councilman held his 10 month old granddaughter Nicolina. From left to right: councilman Bernard Hamilton, Mayor McCarthy, councilman Peggy Dunnigan, O'Boyle, Michelle and James Joanow, James Jr., Marlene and Nick Joanow, Ron Rice, and Laura and Nick A. Joanow. From left to right is councilman Bernard Hamilton, Mayor McCarthy, councilman Peggy Dunnigan, O'Boyle, James and Michelle Joanow, James Jr., Marlene, Nick, Ron Rice, Laura and Nick A. Joanow.