Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Power Plays for Those of Us Still in the Dark

Sandy has been a life changing experience for we digitally dependent folks who are constantly checking our emails and Facebook updates. Much of Bloomfield was shrouded in darkness Monday night by falling trees and power lines. After initially being reassured by PSE&G that our power would be back in 45 minutes"at 7:59PM," a second call yielded an update that suggested an expectation of  7 days or more.
Blackouts were haphazard south of Bay, but nearly universal north of Bay. Most of our friends and neighbors were in the same boar, but were were finally able to at leas charge our dead phone Tuesday night. Hearing that the Bloomfield Library would reopen on Wednesday, we were first in line. Their 8 computer stations filled up very quickly, (and they may close early today) so here are some alternatives:

 Montclair's library on S.Fullerton has many more outlets(and free parking next door) but a higher percentage of blacked out patrons(80%). Montclair's YMCA and Town Council Chambers are also open to those looking for juice. We don't believe they check for ID, but if it gets crowded they may. Starbucks and Paneras have also just reopened.

Clifton's Allwood Library is also a good prospect, but call first to verify their hours(Clifton Commons was totally dark except for generator-enhanced Stop-N Shop) .

Whole Foods in West Orange is actually inviting folks to plug in.

PSE&G has updated its twitter page for fast moving progress reports.Stay tuned and plugged:

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Halloween Spooktacular

Bloomfield's Bicentennial Committee outdid itself again with the most spectacular Spooktacular ever.  Children enjoyed Trick or Treating through a mini-village of decorated cardboard houses and shops.

Other fun and games included a Bean Bag Toss, a Magic Act,  a Pumpkin Patch,  a Contest to Guess the Weight of the Biggest Pumpkin, A Costume Contest,  A Haunted Courtyard in front of the Library, and a Jack-O-Lantern Contest.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Confronting the Board of Health

At last night's Board of Health meeting, more than a dozen people made comments before being stopped by the notorious Marimba ring tone 5 minute timer. I began by reading an excerpt from a letter that my wife, Rebecca wrote to the Mayor and Town Council. It was read at Monday's Council meeting:
"....the idea that the township has no authority over the Board of Health decisions is ludicrous - the Board of Health has to be responsible to somebody. You appointed the Board of Health. And although they may do a good job when it comes to Town Health issues involving humans, they know little about taking care of animals or running an animal shelter.
 Ms. Lore is one person making decisions that affect the entire township, and she appears to have no supervision above her, and no input from the public. Especially in the case of a director who is only an acting director, you would think there would be some sort of supervisor working with her and watching to see if she indeed, could handle the position. 
Whenever I have attended a BOH meeting, it seems like Ms. Lore makes a decision and no one even discusses or questions her - They seem to be "Yes" people who rubber-stamp what she decides to do."
Jeff Coltenback reaffirmed the commitment he made at Monday's meeting to take over responsibility for the training and adoption of all the dogs now at Bloomfield;s shelter -- including Memphis. I was able to shoot a video clip of his concluding comments.

 Some of my comments:
One of my unanswered questions in my September letter was whether you could refer me to a recent meeting where there had been a non-unanimous vote on an issue that Ms. Lore raised. 
I believe it was Mr. Mcloughlin who told us--at a recent meeting--that you never talk to each other between meetings regarding any issues that are on the agenda. Well many of us on the outside talk every day in the social media about some of the major issues that you seem determined to ignore. We do it publicly, so folks like Mr. Fitzpatrick can cherry pick rumors that he finds inaccurate. We do it partially out of frustration that we can't get all the facts we'd like to get from the Health Department or the Shelter.  
This week, our frustration at the lack of accurate information from this Board has led some residents to start yet another Facebook page. This one is not primarily about Memphis -- it's about YOU. It's called "The Truth About Bloomfield's Health Department." Rather than sharing rumors, anyone can share verifiable facts and documents about what's been going on with the Board and the Health Department. This may be your first chance for one or more of you to make a difference on your Board -- OR your last chance. 
Not sure if it was in response to many of our complaints about their unresponsiveness, but one of the members, Mcloughlin, actually chose to engage in a brief discussion with several of the commenters. Elkins also made a couple of comments. The 3 women on the Board, however, still seem to have lost their voices.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lighting Up the Historic District

Once upon a time, when Glen Ridge was a part of Bloomfield, gas lamps were ubiquitous throughout the township. The last two lamps have been continuously maintained by the residents living on the charming cul de sac of East Church Street.

Friday, October 12, 2012

New Walking Tour of Bloomfield Historic District Begins This Saturday

In 1937, Bloomfield had 525 retail stores, with a total annual sales of over $15 million (approximately $246 million in 2011 dollars) with employment for over 1,000 men and women.

Come to the Bloomfield Civic Center at 84 Broad Street and enjoy a 30 minute slide show of the Bloomfield Historic District and Bloomfield Center exploring historic sites from the late 1800s to early 1900s, many of them taken during the Centennial celebrations in 1912, with ‘now’ photos showing the same locations today.

The slide show, produced by Rich Rockwell, will be shown continuously between 1:30 and 3:30. Pick up a self-guided tour guide, then take a self-guided tour at your own pace at your convenience.
Refreshments will be served at the Civic Center. In case of rain, the refreshments and slide show will be held, and self-guided tour guides will be handed out so you can the tour in the future at your convenience.

The Women’s Club, corner of Montgomery and Franklin Streets. Replaced by a parking lot.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Don't Miss Free Bicentennial Bus Tour of Bloomfield This Saturday

In 1937 Bloomfield had 68 plants employing approximately 6,500 people manufacturing products valued in excess of $53 million (approximately $830 million in 2011 dollars). Explore the locations of some of Bloomfield's past industrial sites and other historic sites - houses, churches, the Morris Canal, schools and businesses on this 90 minute tour with a handout of photos and maps of historic sites.

Sponsored by the Bloomfield Bicentennial Committee, Bus tours will leave the Bloomfield College parking lot on Liberty Street near Austin Place every half hour between 10 am and 2:30 pm. A handicapped accessible bus will be available. Parking is available in the College parking lot. Refreshments will be served at the end of the tour at Westminster Hall, corner of Fremont Street and Austin Place.

Photo at right of Westinghouse Factory is part of the souvenir booklet that will be given to all participants in the tour.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

BOH Rebuffs Council Efforts to Resolve Memphis Issue

Much has transpired in the week since the Council voted unanimously to urge all the attorneys involved in the Memphis lawsuit to reach a positive outcome that would return Memphis to Jeff Coltenback:

 1. The BOH has reiterated their version of events -- with too many misstatements to go into here -- and told the council it has no authority over them.
2. The BOH attorney has taken to the internet to further misrepresent the situation. Basically claiming that the Lexis Attorney is now on Ricci's side, and blaming Jeff for scaring alternative trainers away, but suggesting that their undisclosed new trainer is successfully re-educating Memphis at their undisclosed location for adoption by an undisclosed family to be named later.
3. Ricci has closed down his e-mail and Facebook site and refused to participate in any serious discussions with other attorneys.
4. The intake report on Memphis's arrival at our shelter was finally released, through Opra, showing that he was originally characterized as NON- Aggressive.
5 The ACO officer who originally caught and gave Memphis his name, has come forth with a chronology of events that belies many of Karen Lore's statements on the case. Moira may have been fired for staying within Health Department channels and spelling out truths that did not corroborate Lore's agenda.
6. Our Board of Health is still advertising online for another Animal control officer to replace Moira.
7. The shelter has announced that it is returning to it's old hours of 1 to 4 every day.
8. The largest of several petitions to free Memphis has hit 40,000 signatures.
9. The first legal hearing on the Lexis lawsuit against Bloomfield has been rescheduled to November 9. 10. Hundreds of Memphis supporters turned out to support the return of the dog to Jeff and Diana Coltenback.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Tragedy on Broughton

All news reports indicate that there was a drag race in progress on  Saturday night on Broughton Avenue -- at speeds excedung 80 mph.  R. I. P. Christine Lembo.

I don't drive on Broughton every day, but I happened to have business in the area yesterday. I find myself driving much slower than on Broad even tho the speed limit is the same. There are so many side streets and kids playing on the sidewalks, it just seems appropriate to go closer to 20 on many occasions. Of course I'm frequently tailgated, but that's OK.

After a tragedy like this, I'm sure I'm not the first one to suggest that a couple of speed bumps might have saved a life. In fact someone posted on the Patch today that they've asked the town to do just that in the past. Was there any followup on that suggestion?