September 5, 2011
AP: South Orange May Name Interim Administrator

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South Orange may name an interim administrator to serve while trustees search for a replacement for John Gross, who has taken a position in West Orange, according to three village trustees.

Gross, who will continue serve part-time as the South Orange’s chief financial officer, has been hired as finance director and chief financial officer by the neighboring town. He has already begun training for his new job.

Serving on the search committee for a new village administrator are village President Alex Torpey and Trustees Deborah Davis Ford, Howard Levison and Nancy Gould. The board of trustees was notified of Gross’ decision on Aug. 15, according to Trustee Janine Bauer.

“I think the biggest challenge will be finding the right person quickly,” Trustee Michael Goldberg said in an email interview. “As a result, it is likely we will hire an interim administrator to ensure we are not rushed into the process.” Trustee Mark Rosner said in an email that he “would not be surprised if the search took six months or longer.”

Goldberg said he is confident that the village will be able to hire “an outstanding new administrator that will provide the highest level of service for the community.”

The trustees agreed that strong management experience was a must in a new administrator.

“I think the search committee should be looking for someone who is an outstanding personnel manager, a thoughtful and proactive problem solver, and someone who is responsive and communicative to the board and residents,” Goldberg said.

In an email, Bauer commented, “We haven’t established specific criteria other than certain certifications, including project management, and of course solid professional management, budget and supervisory experience.”

The trustees said they expect the impact of the transition to be minimal on the day-to-day operations of the village…(Continue Reading)

September 5, 2011
AP: A Week After Impact, Area Residents Continue To Clean Up After Hurricane Irene and Deal With the Storm's Aftermath

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It has been almost a week since Hurricane Irene swept through the area, yet many are still contending with the aftermath of the storm.

Although some businesses in the area have reopened their doors for business, some have instead reopened for cleanup. 

On the other hand, to look at some homes and businesses in the area, it is hard to imagine that a devastating storm blew through town.  The only remnants are pieces of tree limbs on the side of the curb, ready for collection.

Only a few miles away from Maplewood Village in Millburn, Millburn Avenue has reddish dirt visible on its path, a souvenir from Irene’s wrath, and black bags filled with debris from the floods piled high along the curb.  

Yet, many residents and business owners consider themselves fortunate. 

Maplewood resident Rene Clawson prepped her business and home for the storm.

“We were prepared, and luckily had little or no issues,” Clawson said.  “We’ve very grateful, there are other stories of loss of water, power, and other people really suffering.  We did not lose anything but sleep and clean water.  I don’t want to make light of the storm damage and those who incurred real loss.”

Caroline Gosselin, another Maplewood resident, had sentiments similar to Clawson’s.

“I think I was pretty lucky,” Gosselin said.  “Many people were much worse off, and lost their basements, or family rooms.”…(Continue Reading)

September 5, 2011
News-Record: Storm Spares New Bridge

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South Orange officials are waiting for an assessment of any storm-related damage to the improvements the village has done along the flooded Rahway River.

Village Administrator John O. Gross said Aug. 30 that a newly installed pedestrian bridge was not damaged or compromised as the river overflowed its banks, except in the section by South Orange Avenue.

Flooding came up to the tennis courts by the Baird Center.The bridge, located over a section of river between South Orange Middle School and the municipal pool, was installed Aug. 2, according to the village.

Gross said there was no “major” or obvious damage to other improvements, but said the town still would assess things.

The river greenway project has seen the village invest federal and other outside money in renovating a stretch where the river runs through South Orange.

According to the village, some $360,000 in grants helped pay for the pedestrian bridge that cost just over $400,000… (Continue Reading)

September 5, 2011
Patch: Tropical Storm Lee Expected to Dump 3 Inches of Rain on Essex County

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Keep the mop and bucket handy; more rain is in the forecast. Tropical storm Lee, which you can track here, is expected to dump nearly three inches of rain on the area. In addition, Essex County is under a Flash Flood WatchFlood Warning, and a Hazardous Weather Outlook.

Lee is expected to arrive tonight and linger through Wednesday. The storm has already dumped several inches of rain on southern Louisiana, and is predicted to bring as much as eight inches to some areas, as it moves north, according to the National Weather Service

A local concern is the height of nearby rivers. You can track your closest rivers here.

September 5, 2011
Café Arugula Offers a New All-You-Can-Eat Bunch Buffet

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By Kyle Trama,

Café Arugula has been in business for fifteen years, and is considered a staple of South Orange. On Sunday, new owner George Filippatos debuted an All-You-Can-Eat brunch buffet, which is designed to cater to families and students alike.

“Brunch buffets are fun for everybody. In these tough economic times, it is more affordable to pay a flat price and eat as much as you desire. We are offering a wide variety of food to suit everybody’s tastes,” said Filippatos.

Filippatos has been in the restaurant business in Essex County area for over forty years. He bought Café Arugula from Carlo Carbonaro in April, and has been looking for ways to improve the restaurant.

“I understand the customers, and what they want. I am going to provide a fantastic brunch buffet that everybody can enjoy with their families and friends,” said Filippatos.

Adults will pay $15.95, and kids $7.95 for a wide variety of fantastic eats. There is no charge for children under the age of five.

The Menu includes;

  • Bagels
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Fruit Salads
  • Potato Salad
  • Pasta Salad
  • Cured Meats and Cheeses
  • Bacon
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Hashbrowns
  • French Toast
  • Chicken Marsala
  • Chicken Francese
  • Penne ala Vodka
  • Rigatoni Pomodoro

Filippatos has also slashed prices for lunch and developed a special take out menu solely for Seton Hall students offering a wide variety of salads, sandwiches and pastas.

“We want to provide high quality but affordable food to our customers, that’s my goal,” said Filippatos.

Make sure to stop by Café Arugula for a great meal and better deal!

Like Cafe Arugula on Facebook!

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September 5, 2011
Patch: Help for Businesses After Irene

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Businesses struggling to clean up after Irene may be eligible for assistance services offered by the NJ Business Action Center.

The services include:

1. Access to lines of credit of up to $500,000 for businesses that need access to cash to improve their damaged property while awaiting insurance proceeds.

2.  Grant awards for businesses to assist with on-the-job training costs for new workers hired specifically to assist in disaster-related activities, such as landscaping and tree removal, construction, insurance claims, building supplies sales, materials transport, utility work, call and claims centers staffing, and infrastructure clearing and repair.

3. Availability of the Business Resource Centers at any of the 17 local One-Stop Career Centers for businesses to access telephone and internet services as well as for job seekers and displaced workers seeking workforce development and unemployment assistance.

4. The availability of Disaster Unemployment Benefits for displaced workers suffering temporary storm-related job loss.

5. Dispatch of Rapid Response team members to identified Disaster Recovery Centers to assist displaced workers.

Call the New Jersey’s Business Action Center, 1-866-534-7789 or click on the state’s business portal @ www.nj.gov/njbusiness/ more more information. There are a number of other services available, which are described on the website.

September 5, 2011
Patch: Ten Events Planned as South Orange Community Commemoration of September 11

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The South Orange Public Library and South Orange Village, in partnership with SOPAC andSeton Hall University are working together to create 10 special events throughout the Village in order to commemorate, 10 years later, the events and effects of September 11, 2001.  There will be opportunities for reflection and discussion, individual thoughts and the solace of community, for memories and moving forward together.

The Village of South Orange, Seton Hall University, the South Orange Performing Arts Center, and the South Orange Public Library have created opportunities and places for reflection and commemoration during the ten years that followed September 11, 2001, from the creation and dedication of the Christopher Faughnan Memorial and playground at New Waterlands Field to the library’s annual programming.  

In 2004, the South Orange Public Library stayed open for 24 hours while conducting Business as Usual; other commemorations have focused on Stories: People helping people,Healing, Honoring Differences , and Preserving Memories. Some of thelibrary’s September 11 photos can be seen online

In a community, big ideas - freedom of information, the right to read, the foundations of democracy - matter;  in a community, small actions - savoring an idea, volunteering to help one person learn, stumbling into a serendipitous conversation - matter.  The South Orange Public Library and South Orange Village, in partnership with SOPAC andSeton Hall University created the 10 special community events throughout the Village in order to remember those things, large and small, that matter.


Ten events – South Orange Community Commemoration of September 11

Ten events throughout the Village of South Orange will commemorate, ten years later, the events and effects of September 11, 2001.  Events will be held on or around September 11 and will include the following:

Thursday September 8

10 am at the South Orange Public Library – Performance of classic American songs by Good Tymes String Band

7:30 pm at the South Orange Public Library – Poetry Jam around the theme of  tolerance, for teens and adults

Sunday September 11 

8:30 am at Christopher Faughnan Memorial at New Waterlands Field  - Commemoration & prayer-

In Memoriam

9:58am at South Orange Fire Department, Ceremony at the SO firehouse

Noon-6 pm at SOPAC – Commemoration in film

1 - National Moment of Remembrance will be observed throughout the Village

At the South Orange Public Library:

2 pm  - Children’s Story time celebrating everyday heroes 

2:30 pm– Solos performed by members of the Youth Orchestras of Essex County

3:30 pm– New Jersey Assemblywoman Mila Jasey speaking on Communities

Candlelight Vigil at SOPAC circle

6:15 pm Musical Interlude with special guests

7  Program with Village President and trustees, clergy, guest speakers, music

Wednesday September 14

1 pm at the South Orange Public Library -   Screening of 9/12: From Chaos to  Community, a documentary focusing on a group of New York City volunteers, and the recovery workers they cared for

Thursday September 15

1 pm at the South Orange Public Library –  9/11:  U.S.. and Osama bin Laden, Before and After, lecture and discussion given by Eugene Lieber

Tuesday September 20

7 pm at South Orange Public Library – Screening of Not in Our Town: Light in  the Darkness, a documentary that profiles a town standing together to combat anti-immigrant violence, followed by a discussion led by Carlos Decena, Assistant Professor of Latino and Hispanic Studies at Rutgers University

All events are free and open to the public.

 For further information, visit www.sopl.org or www.southorange.org, call 973-762-0230 or email librarian@sopl.org.

September 5, 2011

Less than a week after President Barack Obama declared New Jersey a “major disaster” area, he touched down at Newark Liberty International Airport for a tour of flood-ravaged Paterson, N.J. 

Credit Karen Yi and Joshua Wilwohl of South Orange Patch

September 5, 2011
Patch: Obama Visits New Jersey, Promises Federal Aid

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After touring two northern New Jersey towns ravaged by Tropical Storm Irene, President Barack Obama assured residents Sunday that the federal government will help them rebuild.

"We are going to make sure we provide the resources needed," Obama said while touring Paterson, a city of roughly 150,000 that witnessed severe flooding during Irene because of its proximity to the Passaic River. "I want to make it very clear we are going to meet our federal obligations."

Obama visited Paterson and Wayne for an hour-and-a-half total with a delegation that included Gov. Chris Christie, U.S. Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), along with U.S. Reps. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.), Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik, before leaving the state around 3 p.m. at Newark Liberty International Airport…(Continue Reading)

September 5, 2011
Patch: What's Under the Streets in South Orange?

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The kitchen sink drains slowly or there’s an odd smell in the basement. Worse, the lowest drain in the house is full of dirty water that seems to be going nowhere. When someone upstairs flushes, the water level rises ominously.

The homeowner calling for the phone and a plumber may want to call the Village first. A discreet notice in the Gaslight reminds residents to call the South Orange Public Works Department at 973 378-7741 during business hours, or the non-emergency police number at 973 378-7772. Village employees will determine whether the blockage is in the street.

And then what? Clark Street residents saw an answer to this question in the last several days, as the sanitary sewer was draining slowly. Village personnel inspected the sewer and cleared the blockage with a water jet. Still, problems remained.  Residents saw what Michael S. described as “slow flow.”

No wonder: our sanitary sewers are older than anyone reading this. Village President Ira A. Kip, who first took office in 1908, took credit for improving South Orange’s waste removal. He was an advocate for the joint trunk sewer system, and saw miles of pipe laid during his administration… (Continue Reading)

September 1, 2011
Patch: Village Administrator Transitions to West Orange Starting Today

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Village Administrator and CFO John Gross begins his transition to West Orange today. Gross will become the West Orange CFO on Oct. 1; for the month of September, he will serve as a consultant to West Orange. The compensation for that, according to the contract, is $10,000.

The West Orange job offers a four-year contract with an annual salary of $130,000.

The contract outlines that Gross will still provide services to South Orange as long as it does not exceed 10 hours a week and does not interfere with his job in West Orange.

Village President Alex Torpey yesterday announced Gross’ resignation in an open letter to the community, noting that Gross “will continue to serve as part-time CFO for South Orange.” (Continue Reading)

September 1, 2011
Emergency Board of Trustees Meeting Tonight!

9/1/2011
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Board of Trustees Emergent Executive Session Meeting 
   Location
Village Hall
101 South Orange Avenue
South Orange, NJ 07079

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September 1, 2011
AP: South Orange Village Administrator Takes New Job in West Orange

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South Orange Village Administrator John Gross is taking a position as finance director and chief financial officer in West Orange, the village president announced today.

Village President Alex Torpey posted a letter on the village’s website about the change, noting that Gross will begin transitioning to his new position Oct. 1. He will continue to serve part time as the chief financial officer for South Orange.

Gross will replace Ed Coleman, who is retiring. Gross told the West Orange Council at Tuesday night’s meeting that he is looking forward to getting to work on restructuring the municipal government to make it more efficient.

The South Orange Board of Trustees has appointed a search committee in order to find a new administrator. Serving on the committee are Torpey and Trustees Deborah Davis Ford, Howard Levison and Nancy Gould. The board has met in executive session several times in the last few days, presumably to discuss Gross’ departure. (Continue Reading)

September 1, 2011
Patch: New Jersey Declared Federal Disaster Area

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President Barack Obama declared New Jersey a major disaster area Wednesday afternoon in response to the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Irene this weekend, officials said. The move comes after Gov. Chris Christie and the congressional delegation sent a bi-partisan letter to the president urging federal assistance.

The declaration will allow the federal government to award FEMA assistance to local residents, and state and municipal governments, according to officials with Rep. Bill Pascrell’s (D-NJ) office. (Continue Reading)

August 31, 2011
Patch: South Orange and SHU - Perfect Together About Town

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Sick of wet basements and downed branches? Put on your party clothes and make your way to downtown South Orange tonight.  

From 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. in Spiotta Park and Village Plaza, the Village will be showing off its true colors – blue and white, naturally – to greet new and returning Seton Hall University students.

Everyone is welcome to this festive street party that will feature food, music and games. 

On tap: great eats from local restaurants including Town Hall Deli sandwiches, pulled pork sliders from Eden MarketplaceStony’slemonade, Lickt Gelato and more.

There will be live music from three local bands:

7 p.m.: Tatiana Lima & Band

8 p.m.: Mophat

9 p.m.: Vibe Merchant

Plus look for giveaways from merchants such as The Beaded PathClearview CinemasInvestor’s Savings Bank and WSOU.

For the kiddies (and the young at heart), there’s a bungee run, Velcro wall and inflatable games.   

According to Carole Anzalone-Newman, executive director of Main Street South Orange, this is the only event on the University’s calendar tonight – so expect it to be hopping.

It’s a perfect opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather, shake off some post-hurricane blues – and show SHU students what South Orange has to offer!

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