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Bloomfield's Top News Stories of 2011

Some memorable moments of a memorable year.

 

Bloomfield Patch launched in November 24, 2010, making 2011 its first full year of operation. During this past year, Patch has covered local township events, crime stories, education news, weather emergencies, municipal elections, public protests and human interest stories. 

On September 12, Linda Federico-O’Murchu took over as Editor of Bloomfield Patch after former Editor Lia Eustachewich moved over to Newark Patch.  Here are some of the highlights, lowlights and most memorable moments of 2011.

 

1.   Hurricane Irene Hits Bloomfield August 28, 2011

Though no casualties occurred as a result of the storm, some parts of Bloomfield suffered major damage and flooding, such as the

On August 31, President and on

On December 14, the rather than a hurricane, but if that leaves any doubt about the storm’s destructive power, check out this

 

2.   

Or postponed it, anyway.  A surprise storm buried Bloomfield in 6-12 inches of snow, creating a freakishly beautiful winter landscape of snow-covered autumn trees that ultimately caused

The danger of live wires and falling branches was so great, schools were closed and township officials postponed Halloween trick-or-treating until November 4.  Some residents reported being without power for a week or more, as the township’s Department of Public Works worked around the clock to clean up the mess.  Mayor McCarthy called the damageand the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency extended

 

3. 

After years of planning and construction, the newly renovated Foley Field was unveiled in a public ceremony to coincide with the start of the 2011-2012 school year.

Bloomfield officials, educators, athletes, families and the high school marching band turned out for the much-anticipated opening ceremony.  It was the first of two nights of festivities celebrating the reopening of the beloved Bloomfield landmark, named after locally-renowned football coach, William Foley. 

“Many people came together so this beautiful field could happen,” declared Bloomfield Mayor Raymond McCarthy. “It’s not just about sports.  It’s about the heart of the community.  It’s about the history of the community.” 

 

4.    2011: The Battle for Tenant’s Rights Raged On

In February, after on Conger Street, a town council ordinance was proposed that would put the brakes on unconscionable rent hikes in Bloomfield.

Months of heated debate followed between township officials, tenants and tenants rights advocates.  Just before the municipal elections in November, Councilman-at-Large that included a 5% cap based on the consumer price index, intended prevent landlords from imposing “unconscionable” hikes onto tenants.  

Praised by the Bloomfield Tenant’s Association, the ordinance passed unanimously by a 7-0 vote, but was rescinded shortly thereafter and re-introduced as a resolution without the 5% cap. , with two council members refusing to vote.

 

5.   

Bloomfield’s three democratic candidates overcame their Republican rivals in November’s municipal elections, after months of sparring over local issues.  (At a at Bloomfield College, the only issue all six candidates agreed on was the need to lower property taxes.) 

A key issue raised during the race was whether any of the candidates had accepted campaign contributions from prospective vendors under contract with Bloomfield township.  “I didn't have a machine behind me,” Third-ward candidate Sue Ann Penna told Patch after the election. “It was a grassroots effort, without the backing of a vendor."  She added, “You haven’t heard the last of me.”

Newly elected council members Carols Bernard, Third Ward, and Elias Chalet, First Ward, will join Second Ward incumbent Nicholas Joanow for the swearing-in ceremony January 2 at noon in Council Chambers.

 

6. 

A Bloomfield man, Khalid Khan, 42, was arrested and charged with murdering his estranged wife, Shazina Khan, 31, in their Montclair home.

The couple had a history of domestic disputes, according to the Essex County Prosecutor’s office. The couple’s child, Samera, was turned over to the state Division of Youth and Family Services.   A neighbor who found the body helped organize a pair of

 

In April, Bing moved into the administration building as Bloomfield's , vowing to improve, and hopefully eradicate, some of the problems plaguing the school district.

"I want to get the district to being the top in Essex County. I think it's possible," said Bing, the former superintendent of the Barnegat Township school district. "I'd be very happy if we could get into New Jersey Monthly within the first two, three years."

New Jersey Monthly magazine annually ranks the top public high schools in the state using a comprehensive methodology. In 2010, Bloomfield was ranked the 226th out of 322 New Jersey schools, dropping from 181st place in 2008.

In Bing defended the AYP scores at a BOE meeting failed AYP last year. (Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, measures student academic achievement based on the No Child Left Behind Act.)

In a 2-part interview with Patch, Bing stated that three of his goals as superintendent were and

At a Board of Education meeting October 18, a report of Bloomfield’s failing New Jersey state assessment scores was followed by the unveiling of an ambitious multi-step plan to raise test scores by the end of the year. 

The plan, outlined in a series of presentations by Superintendent Jason Bing and district educators, included the increased use of technology-based learning tools and the district-wide adoption of the Star Enterprise system from Renaissance Learning Inc.  According to Bing, these tools would not only provide educators with a checks and balance system to assess children’s academic progress, but was a necessary component in keeping up with twenty-first century education.

Under Bing’s direction, Bloomfield students took part in an anti-bullying initiative “Week of Respect.” Oct. 3-7  and the

 

Other highlights of the year 2011 include the , the at Bloomfield High School in September, some great sporting events including an awesome season of Bengals Football, and township holiday events like   This well-organized community effort is a testimony to the generosity of spirit in the township of Bloomfield.

 

Also . . .

Some of my favorite Bloomfield stories include , talking to the township's , and, believe it or not, deciphering the six-hour long .

Pat Gilleran January 02, 2012 at 08:57 PM
The BOE election when a slate of bipartisan candidates were elected didn't make it into top stories of 2011 but the slaughter of a woman by her estranged husband did. WEIRD

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