Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Cutbacks at Shelter Stoke Shutdown Fears

The Bloomfield/Bukowski Animal Shelter appears to be circling its cages to reduce its exposure to public scrutiny and interaction. It has lately been spending more time deleting questions and comments than sharing info on the pets that are available for adoption.

Now, it has apparently given up competing with the Save the Bloomfield Shelter site. for fans on its Facebook page, with a status post that "For future updates on Memphis and other shelter activities, please visit us at

Just posted on the Bloomfield Township website, but NOT posted on the shelter website are the newly limited hours for public access:
Monday 12pm - 2pm
Tuesday 12pm - 2pm
Wednesday 12pm - 2pm
Thursday 12pm - 2pm
Friday 12pm - 2pm
Saturday 12pm - 2pm

There are also reports that the shelter is requiring all visitors to provide photo ID.
Tuesday's town council meeting is expected to draw a large turnout by animal lovers concerned about recent cutbacks and firings as well as the confinement of Memphis.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Crimes and Punishment Bring the Feds to Town

Bloomfield Life is breaking the news that a Bloomfield tax preparer was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for preparing returns he knew were false, in order to get his clients large refunds to which they were not entitled, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced. According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court: Rigot Joseph, the sole owner of RJM Professional Tax Services, aided and assisted in the preparation of tax returns that claimed fabricated and inflated Schedule A itemized deductions for his clients. Joseph met with clients at the business in East Orange, where he prepared their tax returns for a fee. For filing years 2003 through 2007, Joseph prepared client tax returns that claimed deductions based on false gifts to charity, false job expenses and other false miscellaneous expenses, in order to obtain large refunds for his clients.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Memphis in His Cage (Video)

Pat Gilleran, who happens to be a long time member of Bloomfield's Open Space Board, suggested that Saturday might be a a good time to visit Bloomfield's Bukowski Animal Shelter and check up on the status of Memphis. After stating we wanted to check out the dogs, we were led into the large dog section by the Animal Control Officer.  Pat followed him to the right and I pointed my camera to the far left where Memphis was. He seemed glad to see us and can be seen through a gap in the gate rapidly wagging his tail. After less than 15 seconds,  I was stopped by the ACO who called in the shelter manager to inform me that I was breaking the rules against taking pictures.

I informed her that I had made many visits to the shelter this year in search of a cat and taken many photos without mention of said rule.
She insisted that she had never seen me before even though I had talked with her in her office several times, most recently when my wife and I spent half an hour with her filling out their lengthy application to adopt.
Pat commented on what followed:
I asked if we could see the cats - while we were in the cat room the ACO came back in a told is that F. Michael Fitzpatrick (Head of the Board of Health) had been called and we had to leave. I asked why I had to leave- the ACO said "he took a picture". I said "but I'm not him". I was told that I had to leave anyway. 
We walked out and looked for signs that said NO PHOTOGRAPHY in the main room and outside of the shelter. There were none. As we exited onto Hoover Ave. a cop car with blazing lights pulled into Bukowski Drive.  It was followed by two more - I didn't stick around to see if they turned into Bukowski Drive- but assume they did. Wowee- 3 cop cars because we visited the shelter. Wonder what crime I committed? I guess it's now illegal to visit the shelter....

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Victorian Tea Time at Oakside

Many historically focussed Bloomfield Bicentennial events are on tap after Labor Day. The first is Sunday September 9th, 2 PM, at Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center 240 Belleville Avenue.

Finger sandwiches, scones, and cookies, an assortment of teas, and Docent led tours of the house will also be available. A cabaret performance by Corinna Sowers- Adler will cap the afternoon at 3:30 PM.
 Reservations are required and limited to 4 people per reservation Only 100 seats are available, so don’t wait too long! Call 973-429-0960 to save your spot.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Bloomfield BOH Delays Final Decision on Memphis

I've been to meetings at the Civic Center on dozens of occasions but this one drew the biggest crowd yet.
Nearly 150 animal lovers came from all over NJ and beyond to plead the case for Memphis to be adopted by Jeff Coltenback.
Some drove for 2 hours and stood in the humid room for over 2 hours to make their feelings known. Jeff led the comments with a passionate plea to adopt Memphis. There were no microphones, so you could hear a pin drop as everyone strained to hear each speaker. Four cops were seen in both doorways presumably to defend the board members from the public. Among the speakers were
(photo), and Shelby Dwyer's best friend,  Joe Dwyer. Other than the 2 weekly papers and Baristanet, no other media were seen taking notes. I was one of the lucky few to get a seat so I waited until nearly all the standees had their turn:
I currently volunteer with Neighbor to Neighbor and consider it a wonderful program that many more towns should emulate. But an awful lot of the good that you've accomplished on the human side has been negated by your unforced errors on the animal side --- ironically because your people skills with your volunteers have been pathetic. 
My background has been in the media, but I don't think any media consultant would recommend your recent actions concerning volunteers an Memphis as a way to generate public support. In my humble opinion, you need mindful and DEDICATED volunteers more than you need mindlessly controllable volunteers. 
The Official Bukowski Shelter site follows your lead by censoring critical comments. It's not hard to see why the official Bukowski Shelter site has 641 followers while the uncensored "Save the Shelter" site -- which has become a refuge for exiled volunteers -- is now at 6,060. 
Here we are -- all pleading for the life a dog who is clearly obedient, loving, loved and well cared for by Jeff. This whole week long drama is totally unnecessary. Number 9 on your agenda? All these folks behind me have been standing for hours waiting your verdict. It's Loony Tunes! You're supposed to be a health panel, not a death panel. Vote for Life!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Saving Memphis

Jeff Coltenback and his wife Diana are long time residents of Bloomfield. They own and operate a local pet business, Paradise Pet, on West Passaic at Lindburgh, which I've patronized many times. They are also the founders of Pitty Rescue, Inc a 501(c)(3) non-profit animal rescue organization. Jeff is a highly respected animal behaviorist and this family truly has a passion and a love for this often mislabeled and misunderstood breed. Memphis belongs with the Coltenbacks. If you agree, please sign and share his friends' petition, The life of an amazing pitty boy may depend on it. Memphis' Story, in Jeff's words:
Help us get Memphis back! Memphis'abbreviated story (it's a really long one though): Memphis was picked up as stray in Feb 2012 and further restricted by shelter management after his initial 7-day hold was up. He was then deemed UN-adoptable by an evaluator in March (not by any judicial system). He has no bite history and, to my knowledge, has never injured anyone -- human or animal. His only crime; his breed. After learning about Memphis, I contacted the Township of Bloomfield Health Dept and offered my services to evaluate/train him. In order to gain permission to do so (which permitted me to train him only; I was prohibited from evaluating him), I signed a 5-page legal contract which also included holding me liable for Memphis and any expenses incurred on his behalf.
Part of my training with Memphis, like any dog I work with, included socialization. During this socialization training, he interacted with both adults and children -- all by permission. Due to this, the Township said I put the public in danger and ordered me to bring Memphis back to the shelter, which I did. My wife, Diana, and I then offered to adopt him permanently and sign a waiver relieving the Township of all liability. I submitted my adoption application to the Health Department, Mayor and Town Council, along with 12 Letters of Recommendation from professionals and rescue groups, here in the tri-state area. During his entire 8 days with us, Memphis never exhibited any behaviors that provided an opportunity for me to correct or modify his behavior. He has been around people, dogs, cats, rats and even parrots without incident. My wife and I had Memphis for one week, and fell madly in love with him -- he's just that kind of dog. Since he has been sent from our sofa back to the shelter, we cry for him every day. We eagerly await the Township's decision on whether or not they will allow us to adopt him. Memphis is truly a great dog who has a responsible, stable, experienced and loving forever home to go to -- ours. 
You can email letters of support for me to adopt Memphis to:,,,,
We're more than a bit confused to hear that the BOH's Evaluator finished his/her work on Saturday, but will not discuss their findings until Thursday's BOH meeting. Meanwhile, Memphis sits alone in a cage. Why the delay? You can attend this month's Board of Health meeting where Jeff's case is on the agenda. It's being held on Thursday at 6:30 in the Squad Room of the Police Building Civic Center at 84 Broad St.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Clark Avenue Winners

On a balmy night of neighborhood block parties,  awards night for Bloomfield's Bicentennial Home Decorating contest, and the leading contestant for largest tomatoes in town and Clark Avenue dominated the winning selections: 
  • 61 Clark Avenue:           Tim & Denise Smith
  • 53 Clark Avenue:           Jack & Annamaria McMahon
  • 49 Clark Avenue:           Adam & Michelle Jaworski
  • 47 Clark Avenue:           Mark & Shirley Sceurman
  • 23 Cedar Street:             Bob & Danise (Bonnie) Taboadela
  • 3 Parkway East:             Dan & Auria Natal
  • 44 Vernon Terrace:        Jeremiah & Eileen Larkin

  • Monday, August 06, 2012

    NNO Will Be All Around Bloomfield This Tuesday

    Tuesday night is National Night Out, a chance for members of the Bloomfield community to get to know their neighbors while joining forces to prevent crime in their neighborhoods. 

    The 29th annual National Night Out (NNO) event, co-sponsored locally by the Bloomfield Police Department, involves 11,000 communities from all 50 states, Canadian cities and military bases around the world.  The Bloomfield Fire Department will also be participating in the event.  There will be free giveaways for children.
    To register your block party or for more information, call Officer Kevin O’Connell in the Bloomfield Community Policing Division at 973-259-3152.
    The following blocks/neighborhoods have registered for parties as of Monday:

    Halcyon Pond
    Dewey Street         
     Martin Street                 
    Johnson Avenue
     Collins Avenue
     Garner Avenue
     Wells Ct
     North End Terr.
    292 Bloomfield Ave     (Elks Club)
     N15th Street       
    221 Broad Street
    Salter Place

    Friday, August 03, 2012

    Don't Miss The Wedding Singer

    Jessica Pastore is a 16-year-old Bloomfield resident who attended Bloomfield High School but is currently homeschooled. When she was attending BHS, one of her favorite activities was being a member of the choir. Jessica was afflicted with a brain tumor and had to undergo surgery last summer. Unfortunately, the surgery has left her blind. Jessica keeps a positive attitude and her head held high no matter what situation life has in store, which is a lesson we all should take with us on our own journey.

    All proceeds from this Charles Sellers Foundation's Talent Time Players' production will be given to Jessica's rehabilitation.

    The production is in the Bloomfield High School auditorium and continues this Friday and Saturday as well as August 9 -11th at 8PM.
    General Admission $15 – Student/Seniors $12. Cash and Check Only (checks made payable to The Charles Seller Foundation) Tickets can be purchased at the door.

    Wednesday, August 01, 2012

    Who's Anonymous?

    Kinda nice to see your name in the paper without having to write an article or a letter to the editor. This weeks Bloomfield Life has a followup piece to it's coverage of last months Special Planning Board Meeting concerning the Oakes Pond developer's application.

    The original writeup on the meeting quoted Attorney Ralph Salerno's charge that anonymous packages were sent to several board members with unspecified information opposing the development.
    The packets contained the Remedial Action Workplan for National Starch and Chemical which was submitted to the NJDEP, and included the nature and location of contaminants at the site, a description of the partial cleanup to non-residential standards, and the necessity for ongoing groundwater monitoring and deed restrictions. All of this is public information, yet none of it was allowed into evidence or even mentioned by the developer's environmental experts during the hearings.

    The "anonymous" cover letter was signed by 12 members of Save Bloomfield Now including myself.  The next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7.