Saturday, July 20, 2013

That Memphis Kid Speaks Out

It has now been a year since Jeff Coltenback committed the "crime" of demonstrating to the world how domesticated and child-friendly the pit-bull Memphis had become after one week of training. In response to Jeff's evidence, Karen Lore accused him of endangering the public and ordered Memphis back to the Bloomfield Shelter before having him shipped to South Dakota for retraining -- in spite of pleas from 50,000 petitioners from around the world. There have been no details on the training or updates on the "retraining" in over 10 months. On Thursday, Brenda McAndrews, the mother of the nine year old girl whose photo unwittingly precipitated the affair has posted an unsolicited update of her own:
Today, out of the blue, my daughter asked where Memphis was. I had to pause & think about what I was going to say to her. She's only 10. Only 1 year older than when she met Memphis and knew right from that moment what a wonderful dog he was. She was never scared of him. She never felt she was in danger. A 9 year old child knew then what "trained" professionals were suppose to know. I keep thinking of the saying "out of the mouth of babes". 
That was a moment when it applied. I had to tell her that he was supposedly in SD. That he was supposedly getting rehabilitated. That when he was ready he would come home to Jeff and Diana. She just looked at me like I had just said the craziest thing ever. She was right. This has been -- and still is -- insane. There are really no other words for it. 
To this day, we have the picture of Memphis taped to our front door, that our son put there. We see Memphis everyday. We never forget him. We hold on to hope that he is alive and safe. Most importantly, he is loved. If he can't be with his family, please let him be with people who love him even half as much as Jeff and Diana. Please, let him come home to where he belongs.  
This Monday's town council conference meeting has  shelter updates on the agenda.  We can only hope that at least one of those updates will be from South Dakota.

Friday, July 19, 2013

New Push for Township to Purchase Scientific Glass Site

This notice was just received by 2nd Ward Councilman Nick Joanow:

On the Bloomfield Town Council Agenda for Monday, July 22 Resolution for the governing body to direct our legal department to initiate negotiations for the purchase of this site. If the township is able to acquire the property, a number of important issues would be minimized or eliminated.

Currently the township is 98% developed - purchasing this property would provide recreational opportunities as well as other amenities that are desperately needed by our residents. The property known as the Scientific Glass/Liongate, off Broad Street opposite Glen Ridge Parkway has been recently sold to yet another developer.  
The developer’s proposal to construct 104 town houses is particularly disturbing as this site has a pre-existing problems with flooding and serious river bank erosion for those homeowners and businesses who border the Third river. In addition to flooding there are school related issues that will negatively impact all residents in this community. This development will severely impact our quality of life and negatively influence our property values.  
With 104 townhouses ranging in size from 1500 to 2100 square feet per unit the potential for a substantial number of new children attending our local schools is significant. With all of our schools north of Bay Avenue at full capacity, the only options available would be redistricting or trailers, either of which would further jeopardize real estate values. Presently, all students from this development would be directed to Brookdale school.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Bloomfield Auto Theft 101 -- Slow and Furious

Official details of Saturday's carjacking at Bella Napoli were finally released this afternoon as part of the Bloomfield Police Department's weekly Police Blotter Report:
On July 13, the valet attendant of Bella Napoli Restaurant, 1640 Broad St. was held up and robbed. At 8:13 p.m., the attendant observed a dark blue Porsche Cayenne SUV come into the lot and immediately leave.
A few minutes later at 8:20, the SUV returned occupied by four black males. When the valet attendant approached the vehicle ,one of the suspects - a black male with shoulder length dreadlocks - pointed a silver handgun at him and told the victim not to say a word.
A second suspect exited the SUV with a black handgun and demanded the keys to a black Range Rover that was parked in the lot. The attendant went to the key lock box and took the keys to three vehicles, which were then stolen.
The three stolen vehicles were: a black 2013 four-door Land Rover with Pennsylvania license plates, a black 2010, four-door E350 Mercedes Benz with New Jersey plates, and a green 2012 four-door X5 BMW with New Jersey license plates. The vehicles were last seen making a right turn onto Broad Street traveling south. The driver wore a black mask and shirt, while another passenger had a stocking over is face, a grey shirt and sweat pants. The other two passengers could not be described.  
The specifics of the incident were similar to others in Essex County and North Jersey. The Essex County Prosecutor's Office Task Force responded to the scene and is investigating the case along with the Bloomfield Police Department's Detective Bureau. Anyone with information about this incident can contact the Bloomfield Police Department Detective Bureau at 973-680-4084. 
You'd think if the local police were seriously looking for witnesses they wouldn't have waited three days to get their information to the media and the public.

The Baristanet wording of the Blotter account varies only in stating that the valet attendant did not cooperate, while the version (above)says that he did.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

When No News is News

There seems to be a media blackout on what is becoming a major crime wave involving an auto theft ring in the area. The latest event happened Saturday night at the popular Bella Napoli Restaurant at 1640 Broad St. At least 3 high end cars were stolen in an obviously well planned robbery by a gang of 4 or 5 perpetrators. Despite the loss of perhaps millions of dollars worth of luxury vehicles in northern NJ, the businesses and valet servies are naturally afraid of losing customers, so the media is silent  -- perhaps wanting to keep their ad revenue --and the organized gangs behind the thefts continue to roam free.

36 hours after it was first reported on two Facebook forums, there is still nothing to report in the Star Ledger's web site,, Baristanet, or the Bloomfield Patch.
Here are some facts supplied by NJ Tomato press editor Diane Lilli, residents. and patrons:
Roger Miliote I happened too be driving by there shortly before the poat here and there were 6 police cars there

UPDATE :  No carjacking in Bloomfield but numerous (3?) cars stolen from Bella Napoli lot; all had been valet parked. Last night. No people taken though - under investigation. Diane,

Carolyn DeCastro well, isnt that nice. They insist that you valet park and then cars get stolen. What were the valets doing while these cars were being stolen. hummmm

Jeanne Talamini DuChemin There have been a lot of carjackings/thefts from restaurants in the area...with valet parking. The insurance companies (this is where my husband gets involved) have been aware of it over the past few months. They target restaurants with valets in suburban areas...there's a whole gang of them! .....Different valet services do it differently. Some take the keys & put them on a board. Some leave them in the car..... Bella Napoli is a prime location for this...just go out to Broad & make a left...right down to Rt. 3 for a quick get away! And yes, Walt Richert, they go right to Newark onto container ships to countries all over the world.

Donato DiGeronimo They put a gun to the attendent's chest, took the keys from the board and stole 4 cars.

Walt Richert Lol! Don't laugh too hardy Jeanne - several Volvo station wagons with the Montclair Beach Club oval have been spotted in Tirana sellling 10 day old goat cheese

Perhaps if there was more media coverage of such crimes, more precautions could be taken by potential victims.
 More updates can be found here:

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Bloomfield's Biggest Little July 4th Parade

Montclair may have the biggest Fourth of July parade in Essex County, but Bloomfield has the cutest, shortest, littlest, and most unique. It has become an annual tradition for The Clark Avenue Crew -- a neighborhood association formed by local resident Mark Sceurman of Weird New Jersey fame and assisted by family members Leo and Michael Sceurman.

Clark Avenue was added to the township 85 years ago to accomodate workers at the bustling Clark Thread Company, which was then located at the end of what is now Liongate Drive. It runs barely two blocks between the Third River and Bay St., parallel to Lakewood and Broad. Despite the small size of the neighborhood, its Facebook page has been followed by over 110 past and present area friends. It could be a model for block associations in other parts of Bloomfield.

The celebration actually starts on the evening of July 3rd with their legendary Bikes and Trikes Parade which circles around the sidewalks just south of Augustus Street(click on photo to enlarge). This year, the parade was led by it's Grand Marshal, Jack McMahon. It was followed by a pot luck barbecue organized by Sarah Johnson and a dip in a neighbor's in ground pool.

Leo Sceurman, who volunteers on the Zoning Board and attends most Council meetings, had this comment on the evolution of a successfull block association:
The Sceurman family has lived in Bloomfield over 100 years and Clark Ave for 64 years but it is our neighbors that make Clark Avenue what it is today. Clark Avenue Crew was started on Facebook because of our annual block parties and to keep neighbors informed on what happening on the street. The "Crew" each year collects money at the block party and donates it to charitable Bloomfield cause. It's knowing your neighbors that make Clark Avenue one of the BEST streets in Bloomfield.
The next National Night Out, on August 6th, offers a great opportunity for neighbors to initiate or reinvigorate block watches as well as block associations.