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Eminent Domain Hearing, Fate of Pit Bull in Top County News

Bloomfield train station suit postponed; Cedar Grove contractor sentenced for bribery.


Eminent Domain Suit Postponed Friday

A court hearing in Newark to discuss whether the township of Bloomfield can take the section of the Bloomfield train station by using eminent domain was postponed on Friday.

Howard Haberman, a Bloomfield developer, is contesting the township’s decision to seize his property, which the town says has become rundown and dilapidated.

Haberman has countered he wanted to develop his portion of the train station into a retail and restaurant complex and said instead of eminent domain, the township should negotiate with him.

The case was scheduled to appear before Judge Patricia Costello yesterday but the hearing was postponed due to illness.  It has been rescheduled for Oct. 4.

Fate of Dog Overshadows Bloomfield Meeting

A small protest outside Bloomfield Town Hall was followed by a confrontational public session at Tuesday’s township council meeting, when a group of citizens demanded an explanation as to why the Board of Health rejected a home for a dog named Memphis.

According to the speakers’ accounts, Memphis, residing at the Bloomfield Animal Shelter since February 2012, was recently offered a loving home, but the offer was turned down by Board of Health officials, who described the dog as “unadoptable.” 

Advocates at the meeting argued that Memphis was well-behaved and displayed a good-natured disposition; moreover, local dog-trainer Jeff Coltenbeck, who seeks to adopt the dog, is known for his expertise with “difficult” or aggressive behavior in dogs.

Cedar Grove Contractor Sentenced for Bribery

A Cedar Grove contractor, who spent thousands of dollars bribing a Union County port employee to steer business his way, was sentenced Wednesday to 30 months in prison, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.

Louis Gargiulo, 58, spent thousands of dollars between 2000 and 2011 providing kickbacks to Donald Olesky, who was then the director of facilities maintenance at Maher Terminal, Port Elizabeth.

In exchange for the bribes, Olesky steered work to Gargiulo’s company LG II to secure contracts Fishman said.

Children's Institute is on The Move to Livingston

After nearly 50 years at the same Verona location, officials at The Children’s Institute have announced the high school and a new adult school will be moving to Livingston beginning next week.

TCI spokeswoman Ann Dassing said the school was outgrowing the cramped Verona campus spaces at 1 Sunset Ave. and needed to resolve the situation.

Four years ago, TCI sought to expand the school. Hearings before the township zoning board, however, revealed resistance from neighbors, Dassing said, and the zoning board denied the school’s bid.

Maplewood Police Report Rash of Burglaries

Six homes and two businesses in Maplewood were burglarized in the last week, according to Maplewood Police.

Residents reported burglaries on Elmwood Avenue, Boyden Avenue, Tiffany Place, Highland Avenue, Orchard Road and Franklin Terrace. 

Millburn Police Arrest Bloomfield Burglar

Millburn Police recently arrested a Bloomfield man, Guy Colavito, 45, for burglary and theft, after asking for the public's help. 

The burglary investigation started Aug. 1, when power tools were stolen from a residence on Highview Road in Short Hills. Police believed the thief to be a local construction worker.

Police  in an attempt to identify him and last week the public responded.

Montclair School Board Names Asst. Principal

The Montclair School Board has chosen Major Jennings — the former head coach of the Montclair High School basketball team — to replace Samantha Morra as assistant principal of Mount Hebron Middle School.

Winning Lottery Ticket Purchased in Caldwell

A winning $255,603 Cash 5 ticket was purchased in Caldwell Tuesday night, according to a Facebook post by the New Jersey Lottery.

According to the post, the ticket was sold at , a convenience store at 155 Roseland Ave., in Caldwell. 

DeHart Field Will Likely Stay Closed

Maplewood's  will likely remain closed through the end of the year because of a fungal infection that has damaged newly replanted sod, according to Township Engineer Thomas Malavasi. 

“It was a combination of moisture and heat,” said Malavasi. The field was re-sodded this spring, and regular watering plus the summer's extreme heat caused the infection to spread before the new, young turf was established.

The sod will be patched and the field will be fertilized and aerated, said Malavasi.

Stolen Phone Tracking Device Led to Thieves

South Orange Police said phone tracking software helped them locate a stolen phone and the three people accused of stealing it.

Police said Tyheem Pollard, 18 of Newark, and two teenagers, also from Newark, were arrested after they were identified by a Seton Hall student who was punched in the face and robbed of his phone.

Thousands Have a Ball at Downtown Dribble

The thunderous thud of a thousand basketballs filled the air Saturday for the second annual Downtown Dribble in Newark.

Basketball fanatics young and old dribbled from Edison Place to Park Place and back to the Prudential Center for the hour-long event, hosted by the New York Liberty and City of Newark, part of the Let's Move! Newark initiative.

Police Pursue Safer Streets for Pedestrians

Some 45 officers from around the state came to Essex County to partake in a course offered by the Essex County College Police Academy.

After a morning of intensive training at the Cedar Grove police academy, the off-duty officers stationed themselves at two busy crosswalks in Caldwell — Bloomfield Avenue near Trinity Academy and Ravine and Central avenues.

Police snagged dozens of motorists for failing to stop for pedestrians in Caldwell crosswalks Thursday.

The blitz was part of an operation designed to educate police officers, but it turned out to be a lesson for drivers, too.

S. Orange Residents Work, Struggle For Basics

About one in five South Orange households struggles to afford basic necessities, despite having working adults in the home. 

According to the United Way, New Jersey sees one in three households in the same situation, hard-pressed to pay for "housing, child care, food, health care, and transportation."

United Way released a report, five years in the making, to document the number, location and experiences of New Jersey families who are working, yet "who live each day one crisis away from falling into poverty." 

Mom Brings National Fitness Class to Livingston

A Madison resident has brought a national exercise program to Livingston and Florham Park that has been attracting new moms all over the country.

The fitness program, Stroller Strides, is a 60-minute workout for new moms to get back in shape that includes cardiovascular, strength and flexibility drills, with some of the exercises involving strollers. The class is both interactive for the moms and their babies.

Owner Nikki Cosentino decided to bring the popular fitness program to the area after taking the class with her 1-year-old daughter, Ellie, when she was only 8 weeks old.

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