Baby Delivery, Ellis Island Trip Fiasco, Illegal Memorial — Tops in Union County News This Week
Here's what made news around the county this past week.
Each week, Patch takes a look back at the news in Union County for the past week.
Seventy law enforcement officers from four counties — incuding Union — arrested 24 individuals Friday morning in a drug, gang and weapons sweep that began with an investigation into an attempted murder in Morristown last fall.
Friends Remember Matt Kent, who was found dead last week, talked with Patch about Kent's struggle with prescription drug addiction. Clark Police say the official cause of Kent's death is still pending autopsy reports, while his friends say it was a prescription drug overdose, likely a combination of OxyContin and Xanax. Meanwhile. Clark Mayor Sal Bonaccorso says a spray-painted Matt Kent Memorial Appears inside the Clark Reservoir will be removed.
Clark resident and Sheriff's Officer Anastasio Anastasatos helped delivery a baby at Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth Friday afternoon. Anastasatos, a nine-year veteran, worked alongside Elizabeth Fire Department EMTs and other sheriff's officers to deliver the baby at 1:35 p.m., four minutes after the emergency call was received. A crowd gathered from the different levels of the rotunda and watched and cheered the arrival of the very healthy new born, who was transported to Trinitas Medical Center for care. The mother was in good condition and was also sent to the hospital.
Scotch Plains-Fanwood parents are furious with Statue Cruises after more than 240 Terrill Middle School fifth graders were unable to board the ferry to Ellis Island on Friday. Parents told Patch that, while Terrill Middle students were patiently waiting to board the boats for their 10 a.m. tour, another large school group waiting behind the students was picked out by a Statue Cruises employee who ushered the chosen group in front of the Terrill students. Employees told the school group that Statue Cruises' COO and VP allowed the other group to go first because of a personal connection. Statue Cruises has officially denied that report through a public relations spokesperson, but has offered a refund and rescheduled trip to the school.
The Dunkin' Donuts shop on the corner of Raritan Road and Walnut Avenue — at the border with Clark — has been shut down indefinitely due to health violations, local officials confirmed Thursday afternoon. Read the full story here.
Springfield residents Karen Bonacorda and Julie Powell shared powerful personal stories with Patch readers this week. Bonacorda, a Marion Ave. resident whose home suffered extensive damage from tropical storm Irene, helped reinvigorate the membership of Springfield’s Community Emergency Response Team by getting her neighbors to join. Powell related how taking part in the recent Special Olympics basketball tournament was a boon to her autistic son Joshua.
To coincide with Memorial Day — a day of remembrance for fallen soldiers — Patch featured the efforts of local veteran Art Weintraub to collect money for and draw attention to wounded special forces soldiers.
New Providence School District will have at least eight new teachers walking through the district after the Board of Education approved the first round of hiring to replace retirees and to fill in new positions on Tuesday night. Superintendent of Schools David Miceli said the district received between 800 and 900 applications for teaching positions.
On May 17, Patrolman Andrew Diamond and Detective Donald Sretenovic, of the New Providence Police Department, arrested Paul L. Lowe, age 29 of Rahway, for Theft of Movable Property. The arrest occurred after Mr. Lowe allegedly stole an Apple iPhone from a local Delicatessen. Officers were able to track the movement of the iPhone using the GPS function after the actor fled on an eastbound train and arrested Lowe in East Orange after found with the phone in his possession.
NJ Greek Fest began on Thursday, May 31. The four-day event is hosted by Holy Trinity Greek Orthdox Church. In additional to live music and entertainment, the festival includes traditional Greek fare. Patch contributor Manny Garcia highly recommends the baklava.
Westfield resident Jeff Janota said the Town of Westfield needs a new tree ordinance in place to preserve the decades-old trees that give the town its unique and historic look. Two trees were cut down this week on Quimby Street in front of Scott's Shoes and Robert Treat Deli. Janota points out that it will take half a century before new trees reach the height of those that were removed.
Summit High School students Adam Roberts and Alan Guerrerro produced a public service announcement, "There's No Age Limit," which won first place in the 2012 Union County High School Public Service Announcement Contest. The video is on the topic of teenage drinking. Summit High School will receive a $1,000 prize.
After some recent resignations and staff reorganization this year, the Summit police force is looking to hire a bilingual officer who speaks English and Spanish. And according to the job announcement, the department is looking for someone to speak the language of one of Summit's largest minority populations, Hispanics.