Historic Newark Teacher Merit Pay, Missing Montclair Parking Funds in Top Essex News
State senator urges investigation of Bloomfield travel agency, pit bull deal proposed.
An historic pact, the first in New Jersey to include merit pay for Newark teachers based on student performance, is close to being signed, Newark Teachers Union President Joseph Del Grosso told the Associated Press Thursday.
The deal would make the district's high-performing teachers eligible for up to $12,500, Del Grosso said.
He said the merit pay will be funded by the $100 million donation to the state's largest school district by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
The Montclair Parking Authority may have $100,000 in missing uiltity bills, according to a report released this week.
A study of 10 years of records of the Montclair Parking Authority showed an agency in disarray – suffering from a lack of order in everything from its rules and regulations to its finances.
But the most startling information in the report, done by former township business administrator Joseph Hartnett and township auditors, raises concerns over possibly $100,000 in missing utility bills.
State Sen. Kevin O’Toole urged New Jersey officials Wednesday to investigate a travel agency that allegedly took money from customers, but shut the doors before vacationers could pack their bags.
The Bloomfield-based company, Club ABC Tours, allegedly defrauded mor than 200 customers, who were left without a booked vacation or were stranded in foreign countries without accommodations, O’Toole wrote in a letter to state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa.
The Republican Essex County senator wrote letters to both Chiesa and state Senate President Stephen Sweeney on Wednesday calling for a special committee hearing to investigate the fraud allegations.
A concession has been made that could end the months-long drama surrounding Memphis the pit bull that's gripped Bloomfield.
Dog trainer Jeff Coltenback has agreed to drop all litigation so long as he and wife Diana are allowed to adopt Memphis. The compromise was offered after he and Bloomfield Health Officer Mike Fitzpatrick were guests on internet radio talk show "Ask Sue" last Saturday.
During the three-hour show, Fitzpatrick challenged Coltenback to take seven other dogs, including some pit bulls, that have been housed at the town's animal shelter for six months and Coltenback accepted.
Livingston Public Schools are warning parents to be alert while driving or walking to schools because of a black bear that was spotted near Burnet Hill Elementary School Wednesday.
District officials warned the black bear was sighted between Sterling and Crossbrook roads at 7:32 a.m.
The Livingston Police Department arrived to see a small- to medium-sized bear wandering in the woods. The bear was not threatening anyone or anything and was last seen headed towards East Orange.
The pursuit of two alleged car thieves started in Fairfield and ended in a search on West Caldwell streets early Tuesday morning.
Police say two people are in custody after they, along with officers from West Caldwell and other surrounding towns, fanned out on Passaic Avenue near Knoll Terrace.
Monique Spencer, 23, of Newark, was found hiding behind an air conditioning unit on Knoll Terrace, and Mustafa Berry, 26, also of Newark, was discovered along a creek near 319 Passaic Avenue by an Essex County K-9 unit, according to Fairfield Police.
A Bloomfield man, formerly known as the "Eminem" bank robber, was arrested for robbing a bank just three weeks after getting out of jail for a spate of bank robberies 10 years ago.
Michael Hasuga, 54, is accused of robbing $710 from a Wells Fargo Bank in Rutherford on Oct. 9, a bank he had hit in 2003, when it was a First Union Bank, according to NorthJersey.com.
Hasuga, who made national headlines years ago as the elusive "Eminem" bank robber because of his baggy clothing and apparent resemblance to the rapper, had just served a nine-year sentence for a series of bank robberies.
Contractors working inside a vacant building cut through a gas line, flooding the building with natural gas and creating the potential for a catastrophic explosion midday Monday, according to West Caldwell fire officials.
The West Caldwell Fire Department and PSE&G reported to the scene just before noon and worked briskly to avert an explosion at a former medical office which is currently under construction on the corner of Bloomfield and Lougheed avenues.
A Nutley man was taken into custody Oct. 6 after threatening a police officer with a knife, Nutley police said.
Police responded to a Franklin Avenue apartment complex around 10:30 a.m. on a report a man attacked a resident of the complex. While police were speaking to the suspect, 46-year-old Dragos Chihaia, he pulled out a steak knife concealed in the back of his pants, then raised it over his head, threatening an officer with it, Nutley police said.
The officer persuaded Chihaia to lower the knife, then arrested him on assault and weapons charges. He was taken to a psychiatric facility in East Orange for evaluation.
Mayor Robert Parisi announced this week the township has formed a specialized Street Crimes Unit under the direction of the West Orange Police Department, to address a recent uptick in criminal activity in some sections of town.
"We have had a spike in crime in the areas of town that border Orange," said Parisi. "We are doing what we have to do to address these issues."
Parisi said the police department would move shifts around to reallocate four police officers -- a sergeant and three officers -- to the new unit.
Just days after Essex County leased the Orange Reservoir with plans to create recreational activities near and on the water, the county took its first step forward to make the plan a reality Monday.
With the help of a giant earth-moving machine, work began on demolition of a dilapidated superintendent's house facing Cherry Lane.
The removal of a building and a shed is part of the county plan to upgrade the area's attractions. The 115-acre reservoir will be redeveloped into recreational grounds where people can rent paddle boats, walk, bike, fish and ice skate, among other things.
Fans attending the football matchup between Nutley and Bloomfield Saturday in Nutley won't be asked to pay admission to watch the gridiron contest.
Instead, they’ll be asked to make a donation to the family of a young woman whose death earlier this month shook communities throughout the area, NJ.com reported.
Christina Lembo, 16, was killed in a car accident in which another youth was also injured.
Maplewood's own Beatrice Miller performed recently on Fox's "X Factor" USA in an episode titled "Judges Houses." Six teens auditioned for their "mentor" Britney Spears and guest will i.am. Four will make it through to the live shows.
Miller, know as "Bea," was the voice of Andy's sister Molly in Toy Story 3. She has also appeared in the HBO movie Too Big To Fail, the CBS holiday special Yes, Virginia and the off-Broadway show "Honey Brown Eyes."
Miller is a student at Maplewood Middle School.
Mayor Cory Booker Tuesday signed into law an ordinance requiring contractors to make “good faith efforts” to hire local residents for construction projects and also extracts a promise from unions not to strike.
“This ordinance makes sure Newarkers have pathways to real careers. Newark is going to continue to build,” Booker said during a signing ceremony in his office, which was attended by Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, county labor leaders and members of the Newark Municipal Council.
Lauren Scrivo, the communications specialist at the Kessler Foundation, met with three students from Horizon High School on Wednesday to talk to them about improving their job interviewing skills.
Horizon High School serves students ages 14 to 21 with multiple disabilities.
The event was part of the Kessler Foundation’s “Mentoring Disability Day,” a national day to help disabled persons learn how to find work.
The South Orange-Maplewood School District will consider building an addition to Columbia High School (CHS) that would house a new aquatic center with a six-lane pool and a fitness center, according to the Board of Education (BOE) discussion on Monday night.
The aquatic center is one option the board is discussing to refurbish the existing pool -- which is currently closed because the ceiling is structurally unsound -- while gaining additional classroom space.
The plan was presented by the district's Business Administrator Cheryl Schneider, who showed the board blueprints of the proposed addition.
Officials at Marylawn Academy of the Oranges confirmed Wednesday the school will close at the end of the academic year.
Students at Marylawn Academy of the Oranges learned of the closing recently via a parent meeting last week and information circulated in school.
Donna Sartor, spokeswoman for the school and convent, confirmed the closing.
Avid Harry Potter fans and aspiring authors, disguised as Muggle-born middle school students, gathered in the South Orange Middle School library for a Virtual Author Visit with J.K Rowling live from Edinburgh Scotland.
South Orange Middle School Librarian Elissa Malespina organized the event for more than 40 sixth and seventh graders.
"As part of the Harry Potter reading club, Scholastic sponsored a Virtual Author Visit with J.K Rowling live from Edinburgh Scotland," she explains. Students came with their English classes "to listen to the Harry Potter author speak about her inspirations, her writing techniques and also hear her read an excerpt from one of her books."