Sunday, December 23, 2012
2012 has been a challenging (yet still rewarding) year. I will be baking cookies for loved ones, recovering from a difficult semester, and catching up on my reading over the next week.
Right now, I am reading The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective, by Kate Summerscale (which I just found out has been made into a movie!) and The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics, by James Oakes.
I am watching the seventh season of Dexter, and I also plan to see Hitchcock and Anna Karenina before the new semester begins.
I hope that you all are able to find a bit of time to relax, refresh, and rejuvenate for the coming year, and I want to wish everyone healthy and happy holidays!
Saturday, December 1, 2012
The cities where I live and work (Plainfield and Newark, respectively) are again among the top ten cities with the highest number of HIV/AIDS infections in the state of New Jersey.As I have done annually since I began blogging about our city, I am posting information about what is being done to combat HIV/AIDS--clicking HERE will take you to last year's blog post.
Click HERE for more info on WAD 2012.
Monday, November 19, 2012
In light of the recent Hurricane Sandy (and communications) catastrophe in Plainfield, it is imperative for residents to sign up for alerts so that they will know when a disaster is impending. After last year's hurricane (Irene), members of the city council asked the city to find a way to effectively communicate with Plainfielders by investigating an emergency response system. Nothing was done and, this year, the city found itself again in a situation where residents had no clue as to whom to turn or what to do.
I am hopeful that the administration's woeful communications shortcomings will be resolved and that they will follow up on the council's recommendation to create a workable resolution. Winter is coming and, with it, other possible emergencies. It behooves the administration to develop a working communications plan. Dan Damon, in his Plainfield Today blog, outlined the Nixle mass notification system used by many law enforcement and other government agencies in nearby communities--click here to read his post.
In the meantime, however, city residents should sign up for Union County's UC First Alert Network system to receive alerts via cell phone, email, pager, or Smartphone. Below is a link to the website to sign up, followed by a description of the UC First Alert Network:
The County of Union uses the UC First Alert Network to immediately contact you during a major crisis or emergency. The UC First Alert Network delivers important emergency alerts, notifications and updates to you on all your devices:
- email account (work, home, other)
- cell phone (via SMS)
- smartphone/PDA (BlackBerry, Treo & and other handhelds)
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
NOTICE TO ALL RESIDENTS
OF THE CITY OF PLAINFIELD
The American Red Cross will be providing
Emergency Assistance and Disaster Relief to all residents on:
Thursday, November, 15, 2012
11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
at the following three (3) Plainfield locations:
Plainfield Public Works City Yard
745 South Avenue
Plainfield 3 Engine Station
1147 West Third Street
Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority
427 Cottage Place
ANUNCIO PARA TODOS LOS RESIDENTES DE LA CIUDAD DE PLAINFIELD
La Cruz Roja Americana estará presente para ofrecer
asistencia de desastres a todos los residentes el:
Jueves, 15 de Noviembre del 2012
11:00 a.m. a 6:00 p.m.
En los siguientes Tres (3) lugares:
City of Plainfield – Public Works City Yard
745 South Avenue
City of Plainfield – 3 Engine Station
1147 West Third Street
Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority
427 Cottage Place
Sunday, November 11, 2012
VETERANS DAY, 2012
- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Whether they fought in Salerno or Samarra, Heartbreak Ridge or Helmand, Khe Sanh or the Korengal, our veterans are part of an unbroken chain of men and women who have served our country with honor and distinction. On Veterans Day, we show them our deepest thanks. Their sacrifices have helped secure more than two centuries of American progress, and their legacy affirms that no matter what confronts us or what trials we face, there is no challenge we cannot overcome, and our best days are still ahead.
This year, we marked the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. We began to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. We welcomed our veterans back home from Iraq, and we continued to wind down operations in Afghanistan. These milestones remind us that, though much has changed since Americans first took up arms to advance freedom's cause, the spirit that moved our forebears is the same spirit that has defined each generation of our service members. Our men and women in uniform have taught us about strength, duty, devotion, resolve -- cornerstones of a commitment to protect and defend that has kept our country safe for over 200 years. In war and in peace, their service has been selfless and their accomplishments have been extraordinary.
Even after our veterans take off the uniform, they never stop serving. Many apply the skills and experience they developed on the battlefield to a life of service here at home. They take on roles in their communities as doctors and police officers, engineers and entrepreneurs, mothers and fathers. As a grateful Nation, it is our task to make that transition possible -- to ensure our returning heroes can share in the opportunities they have given so much to defend. The freedoms we cherish endure because of their service and sacrifice, and our country must strive to honor our veterans by fulfilling our responsibilities to them and upholding the sacred trust we share with all who have served.
On days like this, we are called to reflect on immeasurable burdens that have been borne by so few.
We pay tribute to our wounded, our missing, our fallen, and their families -- men and women who have known the true costs of conflict and deserve our deepest respect, now and forever. We also remember that our commitments to those who have served are commitments we must honor not only on Veterans Day, but every day. As we do so, let us reaffirm our promise that when our troops finish their tours of duty, they come home to an America that gives them the benefits they have earned, the care they deserve, and the fullest opportunity to keep their families strong and our country moving forward.
With respect for and in recognition of the contributions our service members have made to the cause of peace and freedom around the world, the Congress has provided (5 U.S.C. 6103(a)) that November 11 of each year shall be set aside as a legal public holiday to honor our Nation's veterans.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim November 11, 2012, as Veterans Day. I encourage all Americans to recognize the valor and sacrifice of our veterans through appropriate public ceremonies and private prayers. I call upon Federal, State, and local officials to display the flag of the United States and to participate in patriotic activities in their communities. I call on all Americans, including civic and fraternal organizations, places of worship, schools, and communities to support this day with commemorative expressions and programs.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventh day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
UPDATE: I had a telephone conference call late yesterday afternoon (Friday, 11/9/12) with our Director of Public Works Eric Jackson and Supt. John Louise. The 10:00 am conference call they had with PSE&G resulted in the following:
91% of Plainfield has been "re-energized." There are 1706 meters (meaning subscribers/homes) to still be done. PSE&G states that the balance of our city will be restored by Sunday, and they are sticking to that timeline.
Regarding those streets still without power, including Cushing Road, Cushing Place, Oxford, Oakwood, upper area of Prospect, 1700 block of Myrtle (Myrtle has power now--Saturday, 11/10), Garden Street, Mayfair, Hillside, Madison Ave., and some others.
PSE&G said that the city's DPW crews cannot go in until they (PSE&G) go in to remove certain trees in each of those areas that still contain live wires. This is a safety measure, and the crews are waiting for PSE&G to do its work.
That is the reality of what PSE&G said--the PSE&G field supervisors are doing the assessments of what is safe and not safe. Several streets that were mentioned are on the above list. Again, I know that is no comfort to those of you sitting in the dark and cold, but PSE&G will be working this weekend to get the rest restored.
Please Note: the City Council Meetings have been rescheduled.
The November meetings will take place as noted below:
Monday, November 19, at 7:30 pm (City Hall Library)
Regular Business Meeting:
Monday, November 26, at 8:00 pm (Municipal Courthouse)
Thursday, November 8, 2012
POWER RESTORATION UPDATE: On this morning's (Thursday, November 8) conference call with PSE&G, the Plainfield representative told the administration that they would have 95% of our power in Plainfield restored by the end of business tomorrow (Friday), with the rest being completed over the weekend.
There are crews working today on circuits that should restore power to the Hillside/Chetwynd/Marlborough area, as well as others that I have posted about. PSE&G also has tree cutting crews that work directly with their technicians to remove power lines that are twisted into fallen trees and branches. PSE&G does not allow city staff to touch these trees due to danger, obviously, as well as liability issues.
The city is assisting them in removing the trees once the power lines have been removed. The city is pressing PSE&G to adhere to this timeline. I am not holding my breath, but this is coming STRAIGHT FROM PSE&G. Also, I have made the administration aware of the continuing conflicting information that PSE&G telephone representatives have been giving out to residents.
Hi, everyone (Cross-posting from Adrian's blog!),
Please read the advisory below that was sent to the administration this past Tuesday, November 6. We just received a copy of it today--it is not on the city's website yet. It contains guidelines for transitional sheltering assistance. As we have been telling residents during our door-to-door, they must register with FEMA. Register at www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA).
There is a list below of hotels and motels on page three of the link below, but the mayor has been urged to ask nearby hotels and motels to participate in sheltering displaced Plainfield residents through the program. I will check with the City Administrator to find out which area hotels and motels the mayor has contacted, and what the response has been so that those of you who need shelter or who know other who do will know where to go.
When I was at Washington School yesterday, I was told that about 50 people had spent the night at the shelter on Tuesday night--a cold night. Please pass along!
November 6 Mayor's Advisory on FEMA Transitional Sheltering Assistance Availability
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Monday, November 5, 2012
This is an update for Monday, November 5:
More areas in Plainfield have had power restored, although we still have several thousand to go, out of 19,000 subscribers. Please see the previous post for information you should share with anyone who still does not have electricity.
As we were going door-to-door today with FEMA and emergency shelter information, we were on a street where some neighbors were in the process of cutting into a huge tree with lots of downed wires, etc. They had taped off with electrical tape what they thought were dead wires, thinking it was safe, and were using chain saws on the huge tree. We informed them that what they were doing was very dangerous. A PSE&G worker was electrocuted yesterday when BACKFEED electrified a wire. He is in intensive care. Certainly, it's frustrating to still see trees blocking some areas, but it is better to wait for it to be done--even the pros can be injured.
Per Municipal Clerk AJ, please go to your regular polling site on Tuesday, November 6. The polls are open from 6:00 am - 8:00 pm. Generators will be supplied to any polling station still without power on Tuesday. If there are any changes, you will be notified at your regular polling site.
Also, you can STILL VOTE by going to the Union County Clerk's Offices in Elizabeth and in Westfield--they will be open TODAY, Monday, November 5 until 4:00 pm. The Westfield satellite office is on North Avenue in Westfield--right across from the Westfield Diner.
Union County residents who have been displaced OUTSIDE the county may vote by email or fax. Click on the link below:
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Council President Adrian Mapp and I have gathered this information from a variety of resources and are cross-posting it on our blogs for residents. We will continue to knock on doors this weekend to distribute flyers to residents, but please feel free to print this information as a hand-out and pass it along!
EMERGENCIES -Call 911
For non-immediate health issues or other assistance, such as basic needs, support for seniors or persons with disabilities, children, or mental health issues, call 211 or go online here: http://www.nj211.org/
Washington Community School, located at 427 Darrow Avenue (off West 7th Street), is being utilized as an emergency shelter in Plainfield. Folks can get hot food, warmth, blankets, and snacks here. Cots are available for those who will stay overnight. The school is also a charging station for your cellular phones and other electronic devices.
Emerson Community School at 305 Emerson Avenue is being used as a "resource center," with information and some sandwiches and beverages for residents to come and pick up. This site is NOT an emergency shelter.
Engine 3 Firehouse at 1147 West Third Street also has food and beverages to distribute.
Plainfield Schools are scheduled to open on Wednesday, November 7--the district's automated phone alert will update if there is any change.
Per Municipal Clerk AJ, please go to your regular polling site on Tuesday, November 6. The polls are open from 6:00 am - 8:00 pm. Generators will be supplied to any polling station still without power on Tuesday. Also, the Union County Clerk's Offices in Elizabeth and in Westfield will be open Sunday, November 4 from 8:30 am-4:30 pm for those want to vote early. The Westfield satellite office is on North Avenue in Westfield--right across from the Westfield Diner.
PSE&G has restored power to about 11,000 out of 19,000 Plainfield subscribers. There are a little over 8,000 to go. Extra crews have been dispatched to Plainfield to try to get more power restored.Call PSE&G at 1-800-436-7734 to report downed electrical lines.
FEMA was in Plainfield yesterday, touring and assessing damage.To file a claim with FEMA, call 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362). Make sure you register with FEMA--below is the link to a printable form.
To file an insurance claim if you can't find the number of your company or agent, call the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance at 1-800-446-7467 or go to the website below.
To report complaints about insurance companies, call 1-800-446-7467, or click on the link to file a complaint:
TO REPORT PRICE GOUGING
According to NJ state law, excessive price increases are illegal during a state of emergency like this one, as well as for 30 days following the end of the emergency. To report possible consumer fraud or price gouging by contractors or others, call the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs at 1-862-209-0130 or 1-973-220-3474.
EXTENSION FOR CAR REGISTRATION, INSPECTION, DRIVER'S LICENSE RENEWAL
The Chairman of the MVC has issued Administrative Order 2012-03, authorizing a 30-day EXTENSION for all those whose licenses, registrations, and inspection stickers expired on October 31.
VOLUNTEER FOR CLEANUP AND RESTORATION
If you would like to provide volunteer assistance in the cleanup and restoration effort, call 1-800-JERSEY7 (1-800-537-7397). Back up numbers: 1-609-775-5236 or 1-908-303-0471. Volunteers may also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org This service is managed by the NJ Business Action Center and the Governor's Office of Volunteerism, both Divisions of the NJ Department of State.
Monday, October 29, 2012
Please note that Plainfield's Department of Public Safety has posted the following notice:
In the event evacuation is necessary and you are not able to make prior arrangements to relocate to a safe area, please respond to the nearest receiving center listed below:
UPDATED ON WEDNESDAY, 10/31
WASHINGTON SCHOOL: 427 Darrow Avenue
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
This past weekend, the mayor sponsored a "carnival" at Hannah Atkins Park for the "community." I only found out about this event on Monday, October 1. For those who want to know, since this event did not require a roadway encroachment, it did not have to come before the city council for approval. I am still wondering why the mayor decided that this small park was a proper venue for this event. How much money did the carnival owner pay the city for the use of our park? After seeing it, I am further confused. Poorly executed, overpriced at thirty dollars plus--yes, $30+--and poorly attended, the entire event looked rather seedy and forlorn.
Nearby Bowcraft Amusement Park in Scotch Plains isn't even this expensive. Will we see political contributions to the mayor's re-election campaign from this owner and his operatives? What amount of police resources were used? Fire? Cleanup costs? Although the carny eventually provided some free tickets to some children, this debacle, too, can be listed as an "epic fail."
Be forewarned about the next event the mayor has promoted--for a fee of ten dollars--yes $10. It is yet another patronizing attempt at veterans' recognition. I am unclear as to why this event is even occurring. Our Independence Day celebration was focused on veterans, and rightly so. However, Veterans Recognition Day is in November--it's a FEDERAL HOLIDAY called "Veterans' Day." Why on earth would the mayor encourage this hastily planned event (it is supposed to take place this Sunday on South Avenue at Plainwood Square), which will encroach on our main business thoroughfare, thus blocking it? Why isn't this "recognition" being held at the Veterans Center on East Front Street, a much more appropriate venue? Why is only one business (Sweet Lew's) involved? Why aren't the Plainwood Square Merchants supporting this? Why is it that the city council received no documentation about this event? Why, as well, has this event been promoted with the date, venue, and the name of the mayor PROMINENTLY diplayed in advance of city council approval?
I hope the people of our community "recognize" this patronizing "Veterans Recognition" event for what it is, yet another cheap display to fuel the mayor's re-election fantasies. Also, look for further ridiculous fundraising events for her "re-election" campaign. I fear the damage she will continue to do to this city if she does not resign.
Again, the city is "functioning" with NO CFO, NO purchasing agent, NO corporation counsel, NO health officer, NO deputy clerk, along with a number of other vacancies.