The Week In Union County

Here's a look at some of the stories that made headlines throughout Union County for the week of Jan. 13-19.


Clark Quick Chek Employee Allegedly Stole $5K From Register

A Cranford girl who worked at a Clark Quick Chek was charged with stealing $5,389 from a register, according to a police report. Coleen Smith, 19, of Cranford allegedly stole the money while working as a cashier at the store last year, between Oct. 23 and Nov. 26.

Now Open: Garwood's &Grain Believes a Good Sandwich is in the Bread

"For me, lunch is a sandwich. And a great sandwich is in the bread," says John Ropelski, owner of Garwood's new &Grain. The bakery and cafe is a labor of love for Ropelski, who gets up at 1 a.m. to bake. The cafe offers bread to go, plus gourmet sandwiches, plus soups, quiches and salads in a chicly designed space on the busy intersection in the Mews development across from the Garwood ShopRite. 

Clark Police Send Advisory About Car Break-Ins

Clark Police sent out a Nixle alert around 1 p.m. on Tuesday advising residents that the department is investigating several car burglaries: "Advisory: Clark Pd is investigating several car burglaries to unlocked cars. Please lock your cars at all times even while at home." On January 7, police took a report of two incidents of theft from a vehicle at 39 and 40 Grand Street.


PBA: Cranford Cop's Rights Were Violated

The Cranford Township Police Benevolent Association Local 52 has made an unfair labor practice complaint against the township on a claim that Police Chief Eric Mason violated the N.J. Employer-Employee Relations Act

Five Things That Happened at the Cranford Township Meeting

Township attorney Daniel J. McCarthy gave an update on the affordable housing lawsuit, otherwise known as the Birchwood litigation.  He said he spoke with former township attorney Phil Morin and announced that Cranford's objections to the Birchwood site plan were received by the court. The objections addressed recommendations approved by Special Hearing Officer Douglas Wolfson. There will be a hearing on Feb. 4 at the Union County Courthouse.

Cranford Mom Starts Business Based on Soap

She started making her own soaps to treat her husband's skin condition. The chemicals in the steroid lotion he was using were too much, she thought. Then, she mixed up a batch for her entire family. Soon after that a friend came knocking when it was time for a unique bridal shower gift. She created heart-shaped soaps for the gift basket.

Before long Ingrid Chuley, a North Lehigh Avenue resident, was launching an online store dedicated to organic soaps and beauty products right from her Cranford living room. Married and with two children, the stay-at-home mom calls her work a mix of science and craft.


Gold Medalist Partners With BP To Raise Funds For Paralympics

Paralympic champion, Ray Martin is teaming up with BP stations in New York and New Jersey to raise money for Paralympic sports clubs, including Mountainside’s Children's Lightning Wheels Club and his own club, North Jersey Navigators. Martin, 18, won four gold medals at the 2012 London Paralympics. It was his first time competing in the games and he took home the gold in every one of his races.

Scotch Plains-Fanwood

Scotch Plains Blotter: Attempted Burglary to Church Avenue Home and Other Thefts

A Church Avenue resident came home to discover a man trying to enter his home through the porch. When the man was approached he immediately ran off. Several acts of fraud also occurred in town and a resident was a victim of theft from her unlocked vehicle.

Homeowners in Scotch Plains and Fanwood are paying higher property taxes than the statewide average and some of the highest in the county, according to a statewide chart published by the Star-Ledger. The average total Scotch Plains tax bill comes in at $11,520.19, compared with the statewide average of $7,870.28, ranking it the 69 highest out of 566 municipalities, or in the top 12 percent. The average total Fanwood bill comes in slightly lower than Scotch Plains' at $10,436.55.

Crews to Repair Pipeline Near Portland Avenue

Beginning Jan. 22, New Jersey American Water will repair a 16 foot section of pipeline on Portland Avenue. Upon further investigation of the pipeline it was discovered it was in need of replacement, following the water main break which occurred this summer. Portland Avenue will be closed from Watchung View Place to Church Avenue until repairs are completed.

Unique Home For Sale in Fanwood

An 1800's Colonial is for sale in Fanwood for an asking price of $629,000. The home has some unique features such as conservatory and fully functioning greenhouse. According to the Garden State Multiple Listing Service, the location of the home on Midway Avenue was the site of the original SPC Train Station.


Research Firm Presents Results of BID Survey

On Monday, Jan. 14, Springfield business owners and residents packed the Fire Department Headquarters to hear the JGSC Group's Mark Lohbauer present the results of their marketing survey. JGSC studied Springfield’s shopping districts and the spending characteristics and drew conclusions and made recommendations about the challenges and opportunities facing Springfield business.

Grand Opening of Delightful Cake Kreation

The new Morris Ave. dessert shop celebrated its recent opening with an official ribbon cutting this weekend. Prominent members of the business community joined local officials in welcoming Delightful Cake Kreation, owned by Springfield residents, to the town. 

Springfield Kids Featured in Upcoming Front & Center Shows

Springfield students are slapping on their dancing shoes. From Friday, Jan. 25 through Sunday, Jan. 27, Springfield's Front & Center for Performing Arts presents the classic song and dance-fest 42nd Street at the Ridge Performing Arts Center in Basking Ridge, with a cast featuring Springfield residents Athena Bernaz, Eila Francis, Kylie Francis, Jackie Nese, Nathalie Neuhaus, Juliana Pica, Dahlia Schraeder and Michael Wang.


Paid Parking Begins for DeForest Avenue Lots in Downtown Summit

Beginning today, fees will be required in the DeForest Avenue lots Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to the City of Summit’s website. However, parking will be free after 6 p.m., on Sundays, and on Parking Holidays. The decision to begin downtown paid parking was met with opposition from several residents and Councilman Pat Hurley last spring. , with Hurley casting the single dissenting vote. At the same meeting, Council approved a $750,000 bond ordinance, 6 to 1, to allow for improvements to the lots and installation of the parking equipment.

Gabrielle Fitness Helps Summit Police Officers Improve Job Performance

At the beginning of every New Year, there are always countless resolutions made by people around the country to live a healthier, fitter lifestyle. But the Summit Police Department got a head start last October by bringing in Gabrielle Fitness & Performance to help the officers learn more about their own health and fitness so they can perform their job duties to the best of their abilities.

Summit Police Investigate Rash of Vandalism to Parked Vehicles

Summit Police are investigating a string of incidents where vandals used rocks to smash windows of 20 vehicles parked in residential areas of Summit. The incidents, which began on Jan. 2, mostly occurred during the evening and overnight hours, according to a Nixle alert released by Summit Police on Friday. In each incident, the vehicles were either parked in a driveway near the street or parked in the street, according to the alert.

Letter to the Editor: League of Women Voters Position on Gun Control

LWV of Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Summit urges fellow citizens in our communities to join with them to lobby for the passage of laws that better protect all citizens from violence by weapons of assault.

Richard Hanley Sworn In As New Summit Board of Education Member

Richard Hanley was sworn in as the newest member of the Summit Board of Education on Thursday night during the board's meeting at Lincoln-Hubbard School. Hanley was appointed to the board to replace Elizabeth Ann Burton, who is moving to Colorado Springs, CO with her family.

Homeowners in Summit are paying higher property taxes than the statewide average and the highest taxes out of all communities in Union County, according to a statewide chart published by the Star-Ledger. The average total Summit tax bill comes in at $16,050.53, compared with the statewide average of $7,870.28. While the statewide average property tax increase was 1.7 percent for 2012, the smallest bump in more than two decades, Summit residents saw a 3.3 percent tax increase for 2012. Across Union County, the average percent increase for 2012 was 2.1 percent. Mountainside had the highest percentage increase for 2012 (5.6 percent), while Winfield had the biggest decrease for 2012 (-0.8 percent).

Summit Fire Department Investigates Car Fire In Detached Garage

A car fire broke out in a detached garage on Blackburn Road in Summit Wednesday night. Battalion Chief Donald Nelson confirmed the details of the car fire and said it is still under investigation.


NJ Dept. of Health Investigating Whether WHS Student's Death Caused by Flu

The New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services is investigating the passing of a Westfield High School student as a suspected flu death. Mark Hollaway, a 14-year-old freshman, died Wednesday.  Friends have taken to Facebook to pay tribute to a life that ended far too soon. In a message posted on the RIP Mark Hollaway page, friends urge the community to always remember the teen. "You'll never be forgotten. We know you're in a better place, but selfishly, we wish you were all here with us. We love you Mark."

Police Blotter: Multiple Home Burglaries  

Yeudi Alvarez Hernandez, 22, and Lefty Rodriguez, 23, both of Elizabeth, were arrested and charged in connection with a home burglary on the 900 block of Brown Avenue in Westfield on Friday, Jan. 11, according to the Westfield Police Department. Westfield police are investigating multiple home burglaries that occurred in town between Jan. 15 and 17.

Wysteria Blooms on Central Avenue

The interior of Westfield's new women's clothing boutique is as lovely as the flowering plant that shares its name. Wysteria, located at 112 Central Ave., boasts dark, hardwood floors offset by warm gray walls and silver accents. A glass chandelier shines a light on the shop's most dazzling feature: its clothing. 

Opened by Trish Gull and Lloyd Rothstein, the store caters offer contemporary and classic styles. 


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