Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Meet DPW Officials at Tomorrow's Greener Bloomfield Meeting

Join us for the February 2013 Greener Bloomfield meeting Thursday at 7 PM at the Bloomfield Civic Center. There will be an open public discussion with Bloomfield's Recycling Coordinator Joe Testa and Department of Public Works and Parks director Anthony Nesto.

They will discuss the waste management and recycling programs in town, with some statistics, information on the expanded list of recyclables, and challenges they face where we might be able to help. Mr. Nesto will also discuss their green initiatives and challenges, including lawn and field maintenance, water conservation efforts, plantings, infrastructure, and even Christmas lights (can we finally go LED?). Everyone is welcome. Bring your questions and suggestions! Greener Bloomfield was able to reach some success in 2010 when it was actively involved in consulting with downtown redevelopment planners. They became Sustainable Jersey certified - one of only 34 towns in NJ at that time. Now there are many more grants to apply for under Sustainable Jersey certification

Monday, February 25, 2013

License to Bill

Bloomfield's Health Department has gained a great deal of notoriety in the past year for the way it has treated it's animal shelter, its adoptions, it's staff and its volunteers. This Friday, our new Township Administrator takes over full control from the quasi-independent Board of Health. At the same time, other incidents of malfeasance by the Health Department are coming under scrutiny. We've been getting reports from a variety of businesses in town that they're now being given the runaround on what should be routine license renewals.
One business owner writes:
I received a letter from the BOH for my (business) stating Second and Final notice to renew license. Include $30 plus $25. late fee. I mailed form and the $30 stating this was the First and ONLY notice I received.. Well they sent it back to me stating they can't accept it without the late fee. Just got off the phone with boh and they said if fee is not included, a summons will be issued...They are not responsible for the first letter not reaching me. If they waive the fee for me, they have to waive it for the other 20+ ppl calling in. I said then maybe there was an issue with your generating of 1st letters. To end this long story.. I was told told to take it up with Karen lore. Wonderful!!! Ughh.. It's just the principle of it!!!! Right??
Another reported that they had brought the bill to Town Hall and paid in person -- only to receive another bill several days later. Business owners and residents alike have been told there "may be a glitch in the system".
We also know pet owners who have spoken out on the Memphis issue who have been fined for "late payments" on licenses that were not overdue,

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Conference Room

Kind of strange to sit in the mayor's seat in his conference room with no "politicians" in sight. Actually there were several past and present town "officials" at Saturday's meeting of the Bloomfield Neighborhood Association Committee.  But they were all wearing their resident "hats" from many different neighborhoods. Most numerous were past and present members of the Zoning and Planning Boards. How many can you count?  Everyone was given equal time to discuss such issues as community gardens,  downtown redevelopment,  overdevelopment,  historic preservation, taxes,  abandoned homes,  and school overcrowding. A major goal for the year is to organize another Candidates Night in October,

Friday, February 22, 2013

Facebooking Bloomfield Neighborhoods

Before Facebook, the main way for residents to find out what's going on in town was to go buy one of the weekly newspapers or go to a Council meeting. In the last few months. several new Facebook have caught fire by giving residents an interactive tool to keep up with the lastest issues facing their neighborhood on many levels.

 Citizens of Bloomfield is the largest group with several hundred followers. It covers the entire town with an emphasis on downtown redevelopment progress. htt

On the south end, Watsessing Heights Neighbors has been around the longest although their Facebook page has only recently caught fire. Some of their topics for discussion have yielded over 100 comments.

North Center Neighbors just started earlier in the week

Brookdale Connections started today.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bloomfield Neighborhood Association to Meet Saturday

The Bloomfield Neighborhood Association Committee was originally established in 1997 to provide a forum for neighborhood groups to meet with Bloomfield's Mayor and to discuss issues affecting neighborhoods as well as townwide concerns.

It is a loosely organized grassroots network of Bloomfield residents which meets to share the interests and concerns of Bloomfield residents. Anyone can attend meetings. It has usually met in the Mayor's Conference room,  but as it has grown, moved many of its bi-monthly meetings to the larger venues.

No one could remember a time when the current Mayor participated, but we've met with most other town leaders, including, the Police Chief, Fire Chief, Assessor and Town Administrator. As a non-partison forum, the BNAC was able to host Candidate's Nights at Bloomfield College's Van Fossan Hall before most local elections.

The group is meeting at 10 AM Saturday in the 2nd floor Mayor's Conference room in the Police Building.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Signed, Soiled, and Delivered

Bloomfield's Neighbor to Neighbor Network has enlisted many of their volunteers in a telephone and internet campaign to pressure our Town Council to consent to transferring control of it's animal shelter to the non-profit group. Comments from many of those asked to sign their petitions suggest that they were misled to believe that the shelter would be shut down if the transfer did not place.
Not true.

When the petitions were turned into the Township Clerk, a friend was able to get copies under the Open Public Records Act.(OPRA).

We've signed our share of petitions in recent years, but never one quite like this.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Collins House Is Still Standing -- Barely

One of Bloomfield's oldest residences, the Collins House reflects the history of the time periods through which it has survived. Its oldest section dates from 1790. It is possible parts of the house are even older, as a cornerstone survives dated 1759.

The central portion of the house is the oldest section of the building. The basic architecture is one of the few surviving East Jersey cottages left in this area. The larger portion of the house was added to the older section between 1815 and1820, and a small addition was annexed on the other side of the oldest section of the house in the mid-19th century.

The Collins House is intertwined with the early history of Bloomfield and the growth of industry along the Third River. Its location between the main road leading through Bloomfield to “Stone House Plains,” as the northern end of town once was called, adjacent to the Third River, made it an integral part of the mill industry in the area even though the Collins family themselves did not operate a mill. From their website:

"The vision of Friends of the Collins House is to restore the pre-1900 section of the house, reusing a section of the house as an apartment for a resident caretaker and maintaining another section of the house for historic and educational tours, lectures and public events. The property surrounding the house, which already has a paved area for visitor parking, would be open to the public as part of a Morris Canal/Third River heritage tourist Greenway park with educational historical interpretive signage about the development of adjacent mill industries, the Morris Canal Inclined Plane and history of the house. We would like to involve local civic organizations that may wish to use space in the building and park area as sponsors to help with volunteer labor and financial assistance for renovation work."
If you would like to help save the Collins House by volunteering or making a contribution, Friends of Collins House can be contacted at:

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Crime Watch at Civic Center

You need not have resided in the 3td Ward to have come away with some major insights from last night's meeting at the Civic Center. Organized by Councilman Carlos Bernard, the well attended meeting focussed primarily crime and security issues addressed by police officers and detectives from both Bloomfield and Newark. 2nd Ward Councilman Nick Joanow and Newark Councilman Anibal Ramos also participated. A few of the new realities that we were made aware of:

1) East Orange and Newark now have such sophisticated technologies in place as 25/7 security cameras on nearly every block and the ability to track the current addresses of every convicted felon.

2) The fact that our population as a "township" has remained under the 50,000 threshold is keeping us from much of the assistance that larger "cities" receive.

3) Bloomfield has as few as 8 police cars available to cover the whole township on some shifts. A major crime event can engage as many as four of them.

4) Police cars from both Newark and Bloomfield frequently cross the town borders -- both in pursuit if perpetrators and on routine patrol. They may serve as a deterrent, but are not allowed to respond to calls from residents.

5) Bloomfield has one officer who cruises major arteries with a device that downloads a photo of every license plate it passes and instantly locates cars linked to crimes as well as expired registrations.

6) One of the main reasons for having so many one way streets in the Ampere area was to make it harder for perpetrators to make a quick getaway.

7) Cell phones and neighborhood watches are very useful in curtailing crime, but no one should follow or approach any suspect.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Code Red

As this weekend's megastorm approaches, it's a good time to register with Code Red. Just fill in the appropriate information to be notified by your local emergency response team in the event of emergency situations or critical community alerts. Examples include: evacuation notices, bio-terrorism alerts, boil water notices, and missing child reports.

The township pays for this service, and it is used only to distribute official emergency notifications