Monday, August 29, 2016

TROUBLED CHS BASEBALL COACH NOT EXPECTED BACK IN 2017

Several recent signs are pointing to troubled Columbia High School baseball coach Joe Fischetti not being re-appointed next spring to coach the team.

First, sources within the district indicate that plans are underway to launch a search for a new varsity baseball coach for 2017, with a job posting expected soon. 

Second, parents of CHS baseball players are being urged via email to oppose the plan to remove Fischetti, who has been under fire for nearly two years for alleged bullying of some players.

An email from the CHS Baseball Boosters has been circulating for the last week urging players and their parents to contact school board members and Superintendent John Ramos to support Fischetti, adding that they have learned he is to be removed as coach.

The letter states, in part:

We have learned that the superintendent may not recommend to the school 
board the reappointment of Coaches Fischetti and Becht for this coming season. 
This is despite a recent investigation that, I understand, has cleared the coaches 
of any HIB violations during the 2015 season, and following a very successful 
2016 season. 
 
This is also despite the fact that the coaches enjoy support among nearly 
all of the players and, from what we've heard, many of you. 
 
This is also despite the fact that they continue to enjoy the support of both 
Ms. Aaron and Mr. Busichio. 
 
Because we have just learned that this issue may be raised at tonight's 
Board of Education meeting, either publicly or privately, I am sharing this 
information with you in case you wish to email either Dr. Ramos and/or 
any of the board of members to express your position with respect to our 
coaches.

Read the entire letter, sent last Monday, HERE.

It's been six months since a former player filed a lengthy lawsuit accusing Fischetti and some of his staff of harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB). 

Several other parents have also filed complaints, several of which were found to be valid by the district's own investigation.

Since then, the school district has racked up more than $20,000 in legal bills, with more on the way; paid an outside investigator $5,000 to re-investigate the coach -- and has yet to release those findings; and still has not indicated publicly how it plans to handle the team's future.

Ramos was expected to update residents at the last school board meeting last week, but did not.

Fischetti, who was appointed to coach the team again last spring in a split, 6-3, school board vote, was also allowed to coach them this past summer in the High School Development League.

But according to the Boosters letter, there are apparently indications he is not expected to be appointed coach for the 2017 season. Fischetti is also a full-time CHS physical education teacher, a job that appears unaffected by the latest information.

Ramos and Athletic Director Larry Busichio did not respond to requests for comment on the letter or Fischetti's future as coach. CHS Boosters did respond to an email about the letter, but with no comment about their plans other than to apparently confirm the letter's validity.

PORTIONS OF BOYDEN, CLAREMONT CLOSED TODAY

From Maplewood Police today: 

Claremont Avenue is closed for all traffic between Ridgewood Rd and Wyoming Avenue due to road construction.

Boyden Avenue northbound lane will be closed between Springfield Avenue and Elmwood Avenue.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

SCHOOL BOARD SEEKS CERTIFICATION AND ANOTHER DAY-LONG RETREAT

School Board president Elizabeth Baker recently indicated the board hopes to hold another retreat this fall, as well as pursue state certification.

You may recall the board recently had a day-long retreat with a New Jersey School Boards Association representative facilitating.

"I'm very excited about the year ahead," Baker said at last Monday's board meeting. "One point of discussion at the retreat was that there is an opportunity for the board to become certified."

She added that certification is a way for the board to "train together ... and undergo a review of best practices, including an end-to-end review of policy." She said training can become customized.

The New Jersey School Boards Association offers the certification over a three-year period. It's website states:

The board must:
  • Participate in at least one full-day retreat or the equivalent in board workshops
  • Verify through an NJSBA Policy Wellness Check that the board’s policy manual is up-to-date
  • Complete an analysis of the district’s union contract by NJSBA’s labor relations staff
  • Demonstrate board effectiveness through the board self-evaluation and the New Jersey Department of Education monitoring process
If the composition of the board remains the same or if the board experiences less than one-third turnover in membership, credits will be maintained.
Due to the special nature of direct service training, each credit earned will equal one hour of training. To earn credits, attendance must include at least seven out of nine board members, five out of seven, or four of five. Core areas and suggested topics to address are as follows:
  • Group Process
  • Decision making
  • Planning
  • Effective Meetings
See more HERE. 

It did not indicate cost, if any. The recent retreat facilitator was provided free of charge.

"As we discuss the many plans upon us, in terms of resources and curriculum and instruction as well as our day to day challenges here, there was a great interest" in certification, Baker said.

As for the next retreat, Baker said it could include "cultural competency training" and "map out other ground rules ... to work as a board together."

12 OPEN HOUSES TODAY

Lots to choose from today so find your next home or just see what the market is offering.

Full list HERE.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

BIG VALLEY STREET ROAD CLOSURE TODAY

From Maplewood Police:

VALLEY ST WILL BE CLOSED TODAY FROM BAKER ST. TO MILLBURN AVE. FROM 9AM TO 5PM DUE TO CONSTRUCTION.
PLAN ALTERNATE ROUTES AND EXPECT DELAYS. SEE TOWNSHIP WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

WHY YOU SHOULD THANK, AND SUPPORT, THE SOUTH ORANGE RESCUE SQUAD

The Township Committee recently severed ties with the defunct Maplewood First Aid Squad and penned a new deal with the South Orange Rescue Squad to be the official back-up ambulance option for our town.

That means that if the Maplewood Fire Department cannot respond to an ambulance call, South Orange will do so. They also are in talks to take over the former Maplewood First Aid Squad building on Boyden Avenue.

Now it appears that back-up service will not cost Maplewood anything.

We asked Township Administrator Joe Manning what the cost will be. His response via email:

South Orange Rescue Squad is a volunteer rescue squad 
so the service is free to the user. Funding for the Squad comes 
from contribution received as part of their annual
appeal to the community for donations, direct donations 
from the township and, in-kind services from the municipality 
such as gasoline for the vehicle(s). This is
the same way that the Maplewood First Aid Squad
operated when they were functioning.

So if you want to help support this service for our residents, donate to and support the South Orange Rescue Squad. 

To donate, go HERE.

TV PRODUCTION COMPANY LOOKING FOR AN HISTORIC HOME TO FACE LIFT


Friday, August 26, 2016

DI PIETRO FOODS, A SPRINGFIELD AVENUE MAINSTAY, TO CLOSE AND PERHAPS RELOCATE

With a new 30-unit apartment building going into the Springfield Avenue location that has housed Di Pietro Foods for more than 40 years, it was clear the great Italian food shop would have to close or move.

Now comes word on their Facebook page that that will be happening.

See below:

We will be closing our store on Saturday, September 10th.
We would like to take this opportunity to extend a most heartfelt thank you all of our customers who have visited our store over the last 41+ years. To those of you who we see on a daily or weekly basis, you are not just customers to us, but you are family. For that, we are forever grateful and we treasure these relationships.


A tremendous thank you, as well, to Maplewood – it is truly our home. We feel very blessed and fortunate to have been a part of this wonderful community for so long – four generations, in fact!
We hoped for a seamless transition to a new location; that did not work out, but our plan IS, indeed, to reopen. 


This is very bittersweet for us. To say we are sad about closing our Maplewood storefront is an understatement, but we very much look forward to what the future holds. Please feel free to call in/leave us whatever contact information you feel is the best way to reach you and we will be happy to contact you as soon as we are reopening. We will keep our Facebook page as updated as possible.

We hope that whether you’ve stopped in once or if you are a regular customer that we have made your experience a unique and memorable one. Thank you for all of our wonderful memories. We look forward to making more!

Mille grazie!
Lucy, Alfonso, Josephine, and Jennifer