The Hillsider has “been down” for quite a while now — and will remain so, indefinitely.

Maintaining a hyperlocal news site — often with a staff of one person — is not easy.

The site will remain up so readers can search through our archives.

Perhaps another township resident soon will wish to restart where we left off. Hillside needs it.

On a final note to our readers, we ask that you remain informed. Get your news from the Local Source, the Star-Ledger and the County Watchers. Demand that the media cover Hillside. Attend council and school board meetings. And take ownership of your township.



The next time you order a 670-calorie Whopper at the drive-through, you may help create 2,000 watts of energy.

A Hillside Burger King is the first venue in the country to test a Maryland company’s device that looks like a metal speed bump and aims to capture energy from passing vehicles. As customers pull up to the pickup window to grab their food, they drive over the apparatus, setting off a chain reaction that creates a burst of energy.



A Superior Court judge ruled yesterday that Hillside’s mayor exceeded his authority in appointing a business administrator, attorney and auditor without the township council’s approval.

The judgment comes nearly a month after the township’s governing body sued Mayor Joseph Menza for illegally installing his executive appointments after he took office July 1. The judge agreed with the lawsuit’s contention that the legislation governing the township’s form of government requires council approval for such personnel selections. MORE


An 18-year veteran of the Hillside Police Department is on administrative leave after allegedly shooting his teenage son in the leg Monday night.

According to Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy, Detective James Holmes returned to his Toms River home Monday around 7 p.m. during a dispute between the 17-year-old victim and the teenager’s mother. The detective became involved in the argument, which ended with Holmes firing a .40-caliber bullet into the victim’s leg. MORE

While the township has $1.1 million on account, a little more than $2 million is owed to the board of education, said Menza. The notoriously late township tax bills have not been mailed and once bills go out, the mayor said, payments won’t start coming in for at least three weeks. MORE


The Hillside police department, in conjunction with the YWCA of Eastern Union County, is seeking volunteers to join a Domestic Violence Response Team in the township.

The volunteers would meet confidentially with victims of domestic violence at police headquarters on an on-call basis, according to Union County’s response team coordinator Divya Dodhia. MORE


And nearly $1.4 million in street improvement projects will help repave and repair roadways in Linden, Plainfield, Rahway, Roselle Park, Winfield and Hillside. . .

Hillside, according to township Public Works Superintendent Scott Anderson, will use a slice of the federal money to upgrade the bathrooms at its Central Avenue playground to federal standards. That project will begin by the end of this month, said Anderson. MORE


Former school board member Angela Garretson won a seat to the township council in June, opening a seat on the school board. The nine-member board unanimously selected [George Cook III] to fill that vacancy on Thursday.

“The reason I originally ran for council was because I wanted a better relationship between the council and board of education,” said Cook. “I still want to better that relationship.” MORE


The campaign treasurer accused of stealing money from the election fund of a former state assemblyman was admitted into a pretrial intervention (PTI) program over the objections of the state Attorney General’s office.

Rosemary McClave, 66, of Hillside, was indicted on March 23 with one count of third-degree theft by deception and six counts of third-degree tampering with public records. MORE


If McClave, who lives in Hillside, successfully completes the program, the charges against her will be dismissed.

[Peter Aseltine, a spokesman for Attorney General Anne Milgram] said it’s not an appropriate punishment for McClave, whose alleged crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $15,000 fine. MORE



A judge hearing initial arguments in a lawsuit filed by the Hillside council against the township’s mayor spoke sternly to both sides yesterday.

This week, the council sued Mayor Joseph Menza, arguing that he illegally hired a business administrator, attorney and auditor without the body’s consent. The case also contends that Menza improperly barred township department heads from attending council meetings.

After nearly an hour of arguments yesterday, Anzaldi issued a temporary injunction preventing Menza from restricting township department heads from attending public meetings…MORE


On Tuesday night, the tug-of-war between the mayor and council majority manifested itself in a nearly half-hour argument over where the mayor can sit. And when Menza wanted to address the council, he had to wait for the public comment session, like everyone else. . .

Hillside’s form of government under the Faulkner Act ascribes executive power to the mayor, according to Deborah Kole, the New Jersey League of Municipalities staff attorney. The mayor has authority to appoint department heads with the advice and consent of the council, said Kole. MORE


An infusion of county funds into Hillside will help the township upgrade two of its playgrounds, including one in a state of disrepair.

Nearly $107,000 in improvements are planned for the playgrounds at Maple and Central avenues. Union County’s Kids Recreation Trust Fund put up half the funds and the Union County Improvement Authority is helping Hillside finance the rest. MORE


In Hillside, meetings aren’t televised, resolutions go unexplained and getting agendas prior to council sessions can prove difficult — even for some of the township council members.

Ten months after the township’s governing body agreed to post documents on its website and broadcast public meetings, neither has happened. MORE


Hillside politicians are accustomed to an absentee chief executive, department heads communicating with the mayor’s office via lawsuits and a political feud that has ground municipal government to a halt.

Into this steps Joseph Menza, who was installed last week as mayor…MORE

Joseph Menza will be sworn in as Hillside’s new mayor on July 1 after winning a last-minute recount last week by seven votes.

Menza, who won the runoff election against Councilman Jerome Jewell earlier this month by just one machine vote and several absentee and provisional ballots, will take office at noon on Wednesday, July 1 at the municipal building.

The recount, which was requested by Jewell, resulted in Menza losing one paper vote, which officials said was invalid because of extra markings.

While Menza won the mayor’s office, the council remains under the control of the Hillside Democratic Committee by a veto-proof 5-2 margin.

The council is already flexing its partisan muscle by scheduling the annual organization meeting for 6 p.m. on July 1, four hours after the swearing-in ceremony. In the past, and in most communities, newly elected officials are sworn in during the organization meetings.

The state ethics commission decision ruling that former Hillside school board member Elbert Smith be suspended for six months for ethics violations was read publicly at a recent board meeting and the decision must be posted at the board office where public notices are usually displayed, officials said.

In April, Smith lost his bid for re-election, thereby making his suspension moot. Smith had appealed the ruling but the state commissioner of education backed the School Ethics Commission’s determination that Smith overstepped his bounds as a school board member to undermine the high school principal, who was his wife’s boss.

State ed. commissioner upholds ruling against school board member


After counting provisionals, the unofficial vote totals in Tuesday’s runoff for mayor showed Menza receiving 1,710 votes, eight more than Jewell, an incumbent councilman and Newark police detective who garnered 1,702 votes. MORE


The third time appeared to be the charm for businessman Joseph Menza, who upset Jerome Jewell Jr., the candidate backed by the Hillside Democratic Committee, to become mayor of Hillside last night by a margin of only six votes. . .

The township race attracted statewide attention, with gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker making campaign calls on behalf of Menza and Jewell, respectively. . . MORE

Realtor Joseph Menza is leading Councilman Jerome Jewell by just six votes in Tuesday’s runoff election for mayor and three at-large council seats.

Menza, however, was not able to carry his council runningmates, meaning the Democratic committee will still control all but two seats on the seven-member council.

People in the Menza camp are attributing the council defeat to the “Deo vote.” Councilman Frank Deo, who ran with Jewell, seems to have been popular in some of the same districts Menza won.

The fight, which has included a four-way race for mayor in last month’s nonpartisan election, may not be over. Jewell and the Hillside Democratic Committee may contest a handful of provisional ballots, or votes recorded on paper rather than in the voting machine because of discrepancies with the voter rolls.

Deo leads the council race with 1706, while Angela Garretson got 1663 and President Carlisle got 1571.

On the Menza slate, Joseph Puglise got 1529, George Cook III got 1503 and Jean Miller got 1460.

Mayoral candidate Jerome Jewell declined a challenge by rival Joseph Menza to address why his campaign received a $10,400 political contribution from something called the Democratic Governors Association and $5,000 from USPO in Elizabeth.

Menza campaign manager John O’Shea told PolitickerNJ: “One might ask what possible interest could the National Democratic Governors Association have in little Hillside. Once it’s determined who the USPO is, a determination of the reason for their involvement can also be made.”

Jewell and Menza face off in a runoff on Tuesday, June 9. Menza has been endorsed by the two other mayoral candidates who fell short in the May vote, former school board member Andre Daniels and Councilwoman Shelley-Ann Bates.

Walter O. Krumbiegel Middle School will host a Teen Spring Challenge at the school at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 29.

There will be special presentations by Hillside resident Greg Hines, author of “The Boy Who Wanted Too Much” and record producer and owner of HardKandy Records Inc., as well as district substance abuse coordinator Melba Mullins, also of the Hillside Municipal Alliance.

The Hillside Chamber of Commerce will hold their annual Preview of Summer Picnic at the Municipal Pool on Thursday, June 18 at 5:30 p.m.. All members and honorees are invited for free; guests are asked to pay $20 per person. Reservations can be made by mailing your information to the Hillside Chamber of Commerce, Post Office Box 954, Hillside, New Jersey 07205 by June 15.

Chamber president John Kruse and Program Vice President Ann Marie Kostakos have announced that this year the Chamber would like to honor Hillside residents who have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Please contact Kruse at 908-964-6659 or Kostakos at 908-351-2600 by June 1, 2009 with the names of any Hillside servicemen or women.

The state’s top education official last week upheld the School Ethics Commission’s finding that former school board member Elbert Smith violated several school ethics rules and upheld the panel’s recommendation that he be suspended for six months.

The suspension may now be a moot point, however, because Hillside voters last month kicked Smith out of office.

In November, the commission ruled that Smith committed four ethics violations between 2006 and 2007 by overstepping his bounds as a board member and undermining the authority of the principal of Hillside High School, where his wife still works as a teacher, as well as the authority of the superintendent.

Read the rest of this entry »

The state says the Township of Hillside must return $426,126 inadvertently placed in an Urban Enterprise Zone account over the last three years.

Hillside is not alone. Dozens of other municipalities are being asked to return over $40.2 million that was given to them in error.

Local officials around the state are seething at the money-grab, saying it will affect projects and programs already in the works. Star-Ledger has MORE.

The Township of Hillside will hold a Memorial Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday at the Municipal Building to honor veterans whose lives were lost.

The Hillside High School ROTC and Hillside Police Department Honor Guard will participate.

Members of the Township Council and District 29 legislators state Sen. Teresa Ruiz, Assemblyman Albert Coutinho and Assemblywoman Grace Spencer are expected to attend.

A list of servicemen from Hillside who never returned is usually read aloud.


A state appeals court today struck down the use of standardized request forms many towns and counties require citizens to fill out to view public records, saying letters, faxes and even e-mails containing the specific request suffice under the state’s Open Public Records Act. MORE


Union County has created an audit bureau to conduct internal investigations and monitor internal controls for the county government’s 2,000-member work force. . .

Tina Renna, whose website, the County Watchers, bills itself as citizen watchdogs of Union County government, dismissed the new office as “silly.”

Renna said the office will “be used for two things: as a weapon against internal enemies, and as a public relations tool. It’s like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. How objective can they be?” MORE


Assigning one Hillside police officer to a federal task force investigating suspicious financial activity has netted the township more than $150,000. . .

Hillside plans to use $100,000 to buy three new police cars for its fleet. “Radio cars are a perishable item,” said Police Chief Robert Quinlan, who said his search for outside sources of funding prompted the department to participate in the effort. “It’s difficult for the township to buy new cars every year,” he said. MORE


Suspended Newark police detective Michelle Davis, convicted of aiding a northern New Jersey drug ring, has been sentenced to a year in federal prison for conspiracy and money laundering. . .

In announcing Monday’s sentencing, prosecutors said the 37-year-old Hillside resident helped ringleader Rasheem Small launder money by registering one of his vehicles in her name and writing a check for his home improvements in exchange for cash. . . MORE


Last year, 91.75 percent of drivers and front-seat passengers buckled up. Twenty-four years ago, only 18.2 percent of those occupants used a seat belt, according to the state division of highway traffic safety.

With such a high rate of current usage, progress from here gets tougher. In 2007, the usage rate stood at 91.36 percent.

But as impressive as that progress has been, the message is getting lost somewhere between the front and rear seats. In the back, we’re pretty much flunking. MORE

Hillside resident and township Democratic Committee treasurer Arthur Kobitz was the winner of a big-screen TV n a tricky-tray auction during the Runnells Specialized Hospital Foundation’s Third Annual Casino Night in Berkeley Heights, which helped raised money for the Union County hospital. MORE

PHOTO: Union County Freeholder Deborah Scanlon, Arthur Kobitz, of Hillside, and Freeholder Daniel Sullivan.

STAR-LEDGER: Federal and local authorities ar rested 14 people this week and seized guns, drugs and a white Cadillac in a sweep targeting street gangs in Newark and Elizabeth, officials said yesterday. MORE

One smoke-eater taken to hospital after Blackburn Road blaze on Tuesday; no injuries at John Glenn Drive fire on Sunday. MORE

None of the four mayoral candidates got enough votes Tuesday night to win outright, so the top two vote-getters — Jerome Jewell and Joseph Menza — will face off in a run-off election next month.

Read the rest of this entry »

This is the sixth in a series looking at the campaign literature put out by candidates in this spring’s school board and municipal elections. We’ll take a critical look at the messages and rhetoric and invite readers to comment. Here’s part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5.

As a prerecorded message from next-door Newark Mayor Cory Booker endorsing Jerome Jewell played on voters’ phones this weekend, campaign workers were busy canvassing the town with fliers attacking a council candidate running with one of Jewell’s opponents as a wife-beater.

Read the rest of this entry »

Joseph Menza with Jean Miller, Joseph Puglise and George Cook.

Joseph Menza with Jean Miller, Joseph Puglise and George Cook.

One is concerned about senior citizens. Another about the youth and schools. And the third about everyone else in between who are finding it harder and harder to keep up with the cost of living in Hillside.

Joseph Menza’s team of Jean Miller, George Cook and Joseph Puglise say they should be Hillsiders’ top choice on Tuesday for new leadership at Township Hall.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jerome Jewell

Jerome Jewell

Depending on which flier or Column A candidate you listen to at any given moment, the Jerome Jewell team — backed by the Hillside Democratic Committee, which currently controls Township Hall — is both the incumbent team and the challenger team; the continue-the-progress team and the change team.

Jewell, who is finishing up his fourth year as an at-large councilman — a position to which he was first appointed in 2005 — has yet to give a single interview in which he explains his stance on the issues.

He has not returned calls from either the Star-Ledger or The Hillsider.

His running mates also did not return calls for interviews, despite promising they would. One of them, President Carlisle, referred questions about his platform and background to his campaign manager, explaining that he was running as team and did not want to make any unauthorized statements.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sip Whitaker, Beverly Lynn, and Leonard Dupree with Shelley-Ann Bates, seated.

Two former rivals and father who serves on the township Recreational Advisory Council make up the at-large council team led by mayoral candidate Shelley-Ann Bates.

Former school board president Sip Whitaker, former school board member Beverly Lynn and Compton Terrace resident Leonard Dupree say voters should elect them Tuesday to combat Hillside’s high taxes and its government’s lack of concern for residents.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Local Source newspaper this week endorsed Joseph Menza for mayor and three council candidates, one each from three of the four teams that will duke it out in Tuesday’s municipal election.

Hillside’s problems are both more dire and less complicated than present officials would have the public believe. What has been lacking are some of the most simple elements of good business practice, basic teamwork among council members and strong, involved leadership. Mayoral candidate Joseph Menza and Township Council candidates Angela Garretson, Beverly Lynn and Joseph Puglise will bring those elements to the governing body . . . MORE

Puglise is running with Menza; Garretson on Jerome Jewell’s ticket; and Lynn on Shelley-Ann Bates’ ticket. The paper didn’t mention Andre Daniels’ Team Hillside for Hillside.

This is the fifth in a series looking at the campaign literature put out by candidates in this spring’s school board and municipal elections. We’ll take a critical look at the messages and rhetoric and invite readers to comment. Here’s part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4.

The Menza and Bates mayoral campaigns are fuming over a series of attack ads targeting them.

The campaigns say the fliers — one of which was mailed to voters, the other lit dropped in town — come from the Hillside Democratic Committee, which is backing Councilman Jerome Jewell’s bid for mayor.

Most of what these attack ads claim is clearly untrue.

Read the rest of this entry »

Queen King, a 30-year Hillside resident and owner of the Fresh & Pretty flower shop on Maple Avenue, was honored Wednesday for her volunteer work with seniors and youth. MORE

At-large council candidates Jeffrey Dykes and Noemi Escobar.

At-large council candidates Jeffrey Dykes and Noemi Escobar.

One is a quiet, dedicated housewife. The other a career public servant who doesn’t shy from confrontation on the issues dear to him.

What Noemi Escobar and Jeffrey Dykes have in common is that they they think Hillside property taxes are too high, opportunities for youth here are lacking, and Township Hall needs new leadership — which they hope to provide after Tuesday’s non-partisan municipal election.

Read the rest of this entry »

Barbara Rowen

Barbara Rowen

Barbara Rowen, Hillside’s first directly-elected mayor after the township’s change of government in 1997, has endorsed Joseph Menza for her old job.

“Hillside property taxes are out of control,” Rowan said in her first public endorsement in years. “Since I left office in 1999, property taxes have risen 55 percent. And that’s during a decade when inflation has been in the low digits.”

Rowen said she is backing Menza and his three at-large council candidates in the four-way race for mayor on Tuesday.

Read the rest of this entry »

PolitickerNJ reports: The three anti-establishment candidates for mayor presented a united front in City Hall for nearly two hours. They never mentioned Councilman Jerome Jewell – who didn’t attend tonight’s debate because of a family illness – but took turns flailing away at the local Democratic organization Jewell represents. MORE

Charlotte DeFilippoHillside’s embattled political boss needs all the help she can get these days.

That’s why state Sen. Raymond Lesniak, D-Elizabeth, and Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, D-Union, have reportedly set up a legal defense fund for her, according to PolitickerNJ.

Charlotte DeFilippo, the chairwoman of the Union County and Hillside Democratic committees has been under investigation by the State Attorney General’s Office.

Read the rest of this entry »

A fight in the halls of Hillside High School led to a faculty member being knocked unconscious and one student arrested, according to police. The incident began shortly after noon April 30, when five, 16- and 17-year-old female students began arguing in a hallway on an unspecified floor. The argument quickly led to a fist fight, according to Police Lt. Vincent Ricciardi, who would not offer more details as to where the fight took place. MORE

Shelley-Ann Bates

Shelley-Ann Bates

Shelley-Ann Bates remembers when a good night’s sleep was a commodity in her neighborhood on the north end of Liberty Avenue.

That was two years ago, when the Ranch Bar & Grill was still open and its often riotous clientele liked to take the party outside at all hours of the night. Residents who slept in the homes surrounding the bar, once located on Liberty Avenue between Oakland and Bernard terraces, were desperate for help, Bates said.

“We complained to the the council, to the [Alcoholic Beverage Control] Board, to the police chief, to the fire chief. Everyone pointed fingers but nobody took responsibility for the situation we were forced to live in,” recalls Bates, a Bernard Terrace resident.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hillside Votes 09Eleven of the 12 at-large council candidates in next week’s municipal election participated in Monday night’s forum hosted by the League of Women Voters, answering questions about how they would stabilize property taxes, bring businesses into Hillside, and improve communication between the council, mayor and the Board of Education.

The four mayoral candidates, meanwhile, are scheduled to appear at their own forum Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the municipal building.

Read the rest of this entry »

Police continued a search Monday for a silver BMW that hit a pedestrian and fled the scene of the accident. About 1:22 a.m. Sunday, the car was traveling eastbound on Route 22 when it hit the unidentified victim, police said. MORE

The proposed 2009-10 school budget, which voters rejected by a margin of 4 percent in a referendum two weeks ago, is now in the hands of the Township Council.

In the weeks ahead, township officials will pore over numbers and auditing reports to determine what, if any, cuts should be made to a budget that sought to raise the school tax levy by 3.5 percent.

“First, can I ask for a re-count?” Interim Superintendent Michael Roth joked last week when discussing the post-election steps for the budget proposal.

Read the rest of this entry »

Click image for swine flu outbreak symptoms slideshow.

Click image for swine flu outbreak symptoms slideshow.

Hillside school officials say they have taken steps to prevent any school outbreaks of the deadly swine flu, which has killed an infant in Texas and is suspected in the deaths of over a hundred people in Mexico, where the virus is believed to have first struck.

“At this time there are no indications that any of our children have contracted this flu,” Interim Superintendent Michael Roth noted in a letter sent to parents last week a day before state officials confirmed five cases of virus in New Jersey.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hillside/Newark traffic barrier

Hillside/Newark traffic barrier.

Star-Ledger Newark columnist Joan Whitlow slams Hillside today over the traffic barrier township officials erected last month on Bergen Street at the Hillside/Newark city line.

No one in Newark’s government was told it was coming, which has some Newark officials seething. They have a right to seethe. Blocking Bergen Street off just as it was about to end anyway seems so illogical that the “Road Closed” signs on the barrier appear to carry another message: “Keep Out of Hillside.”

Read more and tell us what you think here.

Janice Worthen-Caldwell, a 50-year-old mother of two, was recently awarded $1.86 million in a civil sexual harassment suit, after a jury in Brooklyn decided she was ridiculed and sexually abused by her employer at a home health care agency. MORE

Candidates flier

Sandra Cureton

Sandra “Sandy” Cureton, one of 12 at-large council candidates, says she’ll work with anybody at Township Hall to help Hillside.

But until election day on May 12, she’ll be on her own.

Cureton, a 30-year township resident, began her campaign a few months ago on mayoral candidate Andre Daniels’ slate. But on April 20, she announced her independence from “Team Hillside for Hillside.”

The candidate said the break was for a “personal” reason but would not explain her decision. She also said she is not endorsing any other slate and is “not discounting the Daniels slate, either.”

Read the rest of this entry »

The township Planning Board has introduced its updated Master Plan after years of delays, according to a report in the Local Source.

Read the rest of this entry »

The construction is in preparation for the upcoming Route 22 overpass reconstruction by the state Department of Transportation.

A $4.2 million project is in place to improve drainage along Route 22, between mile posts 58.12 and 58.82, said Stephen Dilts, commissioner for the state Department of Transportation. The project includes the installation of larger drainage pipes and a detention basin along the roadway, as well as new curbing and guard rails. “This stretch is among the top 10 hot spots for flooding in the state,” said DOT spokesperson Erin Phalon. MORE

After a month-long trial and two days of jury deliberation, Otis Blunt and Kenneth Graham were found not guilty today of critically wounding a Hillside store manager in a 2005 robbery. . . Today, Blunt, 34, and Graham, 36, friends and neighbors from Toms River, avoided up to 20 years in state prison when they were acquitted of charges including armed robbery, aggravated assault and weapons possession. The Union County Prosecutor’s Office declined comment on the verdict. MORE

<strong><small>June Korzeneski</small></strong>

June Korzeneski

At the Board of Education’s annual organization meeting Monday at Hillside High School, board members installed retired teacher and guidance counselor June Korzeneski as president and the newly re-elected Angela Menza as vice president.

For the first time since 2004, the Hillside Democratic Committee will not have majority control of the school board after reform candidates swept all three seats in last Tuesday’s election for the second year in a row.

The Democrats now have just three members on the panel: Nagy Sileem, Ralph Humphrey and Angela Garretson, who’s running for a seat on the Township Council in next month’s municipal election.

Read the rest of this entry »

Six educators, one from each of the Hillside public schools, were selected as Union County teachers of the year by the Union County Superintendents’ Round Table Teacher Recognition Program.

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UPDATED with itemized spending by the Daniels team.

Hillside Votes 09In politics, candidates generally need three things in order to win: a message, money and votes.

So far in the race to be Hillside’s next mayor, candidate Jerome Jewell has the money part down pat.

Read the rest of this entry »

The crime is nearly 20 years old, but investigators are still looking for Joao Viriato Simoes.

Simoes was convicted in 1998 of having sex contact with a 14-year-old Piscataway girl eight years earlier while her mother was working . . . His last known address was 1289 Bright St., Hillside, and in South River. MORE

An 18-town crackdown last month on drivers using cellphones — a program in which Hillside Police participated — saw a 50 percent decline in violations from last year, according to Division of Highway Traffic Safety.

Just six percent of motorists were caught chatting on their cells, and just 1 percent were stopped for driving while texting, down from 12 percent and 2 percent last year when the law went into effect. Here’s MORE.

The campaign manager for mayoral candidate Joseph Menza has lodged a complaint against the Hillside Democratic Campaign Committee’s school board slate, claiming they failed to file required finance reports with the state.

In a letter to Election Law Enforcement Commission executive director Frederick Herrmann, Menza campaign manager John O’Shea says the HDCC’s Committee For Sensible School Spending “completely defied the statutory requirements of campaign reporting” despite spending “well in excess of $15,000.00.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Hillside officials have put up a traffic barrier blocking traffic driving south on Newark’s Bergen Street from accessing Hillside’s Bailey Avenue, according to a report in the Star-Ledger — and Newark is not too happy about it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hillside Mayor Karen McCoy-Oliver must pay more than $32,000 to reimburse the seven township department heads who successfully sued her for refusing to sign their pay raise contracts, a Superior Court judge ordered Wednesday. . . the mayor must personally pay $25,510 to the Morristown law firm of Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, which represented the seven plaintiffs [and] $6,665 to Hillside Township for its legal expenses. MORE

Judge says dept. heads can get their raises, contract

The portion of Liberty Avenue running under the Route 22 overpass will be closed to traffic beginning next Friday, May 1, until Monday, May 4, Hillside Police Chief Robert Quinlan said.

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Union County Freeholder Angel G. Estrada, left, presents resolutions to Daniel Capitao, of Elizabeth, and Bryan Galvao, of Hillside, with Scout Master John Livres, congratulating then on becoming Eagle Scouts.

Eagle Scout is the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America.


Voters returned incumbent school board member Angela Menza to the Hillside Board of Education but denied veteran member Elbert Smith a fourth term in tonight’s school board election.

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Hillside Votes '09This is the fourth in a series looking at the campaign literature put out by candidates in this spring’s school board and municipal elections. We’ll take a critical look at the messages and rhetoric and invite readers to comment. Here’s part 1, part 2 and part 3.

Election day is today, which means Hillside voters have been barraged since Friday with last-minute mailings and leafletings by candidates desperately seeking votes. But how much of it should you believe?

We found one piece of literature in particular — from the slate topped by incumbent Elbert Smith — in need of special attention for an inaccuracy and a somewhat disingenuous message.

Read the rest of this entry »

Most members of the Hillside Township Council weren’t too happy with the $41.2 million budget before them on Monday evening. Still, they voted 6-1 to approve it.

2009 Budget Revenues by Category

2009 Budget Revenues by Category

The finalized spending plan will require Hillside taxpayers to contribute $458,822 (1.77 percent) more than they did in 2008. The tax rate for every $100 of assessed property value will climb a little over six cents, or 2.23 percent, to about $2.862.

Before casting his “yes” vote, Council President John Kulish said that getting to a budget that only modestly raises taxes without cutting any services and employees was a “feat and a half.”

Read the rest of this entry »

The Hillside Township Council tomorrow will hold a public hearing and vote on the $41.2 million budget they introduced a week ago.

The meeting at the municipal building will be held at 4 p.m. even though township meetings are usually scheduled for 7 p.m.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hillside Votes '09Voters on Tuesday will pick from six candidates to fill three three-year seats on the Hillside Board of Education.

Incumbent school board members Elbert Smith and Angela Menza each head a slate of three candidates.

Voters will also get to decide on a $25.8 million school tax levy that would raise school property taxes on average by 3.5 percent.

Running with Smith on a platform to “change our children’s future” are Diane Murray and Jamar Cherry. Shelby Robinson and Danny Santos are running with Menza on a platform of “Progress — moving forward.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Few qualities are more important for a candidate to possess than the ability to let politics take a back seat while maintaining a genuine desire to provide the best possible education for local children. In Hillside, incumbent Angela Menza and candidates Shelby Robinson and Daniel Santos fit this profile and we urge voters to support them when they go to the polls Tuesday. MORE

This is second in a series looking at all the campaign literature put out by candidates in this spring’s school board and municipal elections. We’ll take a critical look at the messages and rhetoric and invite readers to comment. Here’s part 1 and part 2.

UPDATE — May 2: Added Andre Daniels’ Web site.

The Internet has become a new battleground for votes among candidates seeking statewide and national offices.

But on a local level — Hillside included — campaigns are still playing catch-up.

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The Hillside Township Council on Monday introduced a $41.2 million budget for 2009 — a spending plan that will raise the tax rate 6 cents for every $100 of assessed property value, Council President John Kulish said.

The increase will mean the average Hillside home assessment of $144,000 will see its taxes rise by $86.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Hillside couple died in the early hours of Easter after their van careened off a Georgia highway and landed upside-down in a marsh.

Six other passengers in the car, five of them children, survived with only minor injuries. According to police, Kavita Ali, 30, and her husband, Danny Ali, 39, were pronounced dead at the scene after their 2006 Toyota Sienna minivan crashed off the side of Interstate 95 in McIntosh County and landed in about 3 feet of water. MORE

Hillside voters will get to decide April 21 whether to approve a 3.5 percent school tax hike a year after the school tax levy remained flat.

In an effort to promote awareness about the budget in a township where voters most often reject levy increases, the district is showing how the money was spent last year on instruction and school repairs, as well as listing what school officials hope to accomplish in the months ahead.

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Even Start participants Bella Suna, Maribel Fonseca, and her son Jesmar Mangual during a game of Literacy Bingo with senior citizens at A.P. Morris Early Childhood Center on March 19.

Even Start participants Bella Suna, Maribel Fonseca, and her son Jesmar Mangual during a game of Literacy Bingo with senior citizens at A.P. Morris Early Childhood Center on March 19.

For eight years, the federal Even Start program in Hillside has been crossing early childhood education with adult literacy for low-income parents and children. Last month, the district reached out to a third generation of Hillsiders, enlisting the Hillside Seniors Citizens Center for a turkey dinner and “Literacy Bingo Night.”

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With the entrance and exit ramps for Route 78 just meters away, George Washington Elementary School, on Leslie Street at Winans Avenue, is located on one of the township’s most highly trafficked intersections.

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This is second in a series looking at all the campaign literature put out by candidates in this spring’s school board and municipal elections. We’ll take a critical look at the messages and rhetoric and invite readers to comment. Here’s part 1.

We’ve only managed to pick up one piece of literature from each of the two slates of school board candidates.

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Hillside Votes 09Shouting matches. Stolen lawn signs. Anonymous attack fliers.

Hillside politics can almost be like a contact sport. And this campaign season, Police Chief Robert Quinlan wants all the candidates to know he’ll be on the sidelines refereeing.

In a stern but polite letter to the 16 candidates seeking office in the May 12 municipal election, Quinlan offers two pages of safety tips, rules and etiquette involving door-to-door campaigning, lawn signs, sound trucks and standing outside polling places on election day — all in an effort to “avoid embarrassing confrontations and incidents that require police intervention.”

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An open letter from council-at-large candidate George L. Cook III.

Cook columnMy name is George Cook and I am a candidate in the upcoming mayoral and council election on May 12. But that is not why I am writing this letter. I am writing this letter because of something I have seen and heard firsthand as I have campaigned in town. I have seen and heard that some want to win so badly that they are willing to divide this town across racial and ethnic lines to do so. Who these people are does not matter. Neither does pointing fingers and assigning blame. Not if we stop this now.

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Hillside police chased a stolen Mercedes-Benz into Newark this morning — capturing the driver who reached speeds in excess of 70 mph on residential streets, said Hillside Detective Lt. Matthew Ross. . . .Detective Jamie Howell injured during pursuit of Nyjuane Scott, 25, of Newark, down Leslie Street and Winans Avenue. MORE

A Hillside man who was pursued in a high-speed chase by Maryland and Delaware police last week has also been charged with raping an 11-year-old, the Sussex Countian of Delaware reports.

The rates for membership at the municipal pool on Central Avenue were approved by the Township Council Tuesday night with no change in the basic membership rates from last year.

Low-income residents — those making a total family income of less than $40,000 — will be able to purchase partial season passes at half the cost.

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Maryland and Delaware police say they have arrested a Hillside Township man after a high speed pursuit that ended with Elraheem Nesmith, 26, crashing through a car dealership on Sunday.


The Hillside Township Council’s Finance Committee met for eight “difficult” hours yesterday to finalize a 2009-10 budget that is months overdue.

The finance team poured over the spending plan “line item by line item” to produce a budget that is about $1.8 million less the than the $42 million preliminary budget introduced in September, Council President John Kulish said at last night’s council meeting.

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The Hillside Township Council last night rescheduled a budget hearing and decided when they would vote on whether to submit an application for a federal grant due in just six days.

Seemingly simple tasks, but not accomplished without the council members throwing themselves into a tizzy and allowing election season tempers to flare.

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The Hillside Township Council will have a regular public meeting tonight at 7 at the Municipal Building.

At the council’s caucus last night, municipal pool commissioner Dennis Kobitz urged the council not to go ahead with a nominal reduction in swimming pool fees brought up at the last council meeting earlier this month.

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The Union County Prosecutor’s Office released the names of the four Hillside police officers involved in the March 30 shooting of a 25-year-old man in his car on Liberty Avenue.

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The Star-Ledger named the Hillside High School Comets its surprise team of the season in its Union boys basketball review.

Hillside appeared headed for a lost season under first-year coach Brian Brown by staggering out of the gate at 0-8.

But just the opposite occurred as Hillside cast away any grandiose expectations it may have had and got down to the basic business of getting better. . .

Hillside did exactly that behind the strong leadership of senior point guard Carron McCluney and surprising senior forward Lance Enmore. Hillside won 12 of its final 16 games to finish 12-12.


School board candidates Angela Menza, Shelby Robinson and Danny Santos had their wine and cheese fundraiser this afternoon at the real estate office of mayoral candidate Joseph Menza, who’s Angela’s cousin.

Seen there during the hour The Hillsider stopped by: school board member Nathalie Yafet and her husband, Steven, who said hello-goodbye and were off to hit the pavement; former school board member John O’Shea, who’s managing Joe Menza’s campaign; school board member June Korzeneski, who’s managing the school board slate’s campaign; and council candidates George Cook and Jean Miller.

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Hillside Votes 09A Union County judge this afternoon ruled that the Hillside Township Clerk was wrong to place the council running mates of two mayoral candidates on separate columns without asking the candidates if they wanted to be “bracketed” in a single row.

Joseph Menza, the mayoral candidate who sued the township this week, claimed a “100 percent victory” over the township after the ruling. The at-large candidates running with Menza and Shelley-Ann Bates will now appear under the same columns as the mayoral candidates — C and B, respectively.

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Jack Strangfeld and Dimples, center, from The Seeing Eye school visit fifth graders at Calvin Coolidge School.

Jack Strangfeld and Dimples, center, from The Seeing Eye school visit fifth graders at Calvin Coolidge School.

The fifth-grade students at Calvin Coolidge School eagerly awaited two special visitors on March 17. Stopping by were Mr. Jack Strangfeld and his puppy, Dimples.

Dimples is no ordinary cute puppy. He’s a 1-year- old German Shepherd who will eventually become a guide dog for a person who is visually impaired.

Mr. Strangfeld, representing The Seeing Eye, a Morristown-based dog guide school, spoke with the students about his experiences in working with the puppies.

The students watched a video about the work done by The Seeing Eye, which was founded in 1929 as the first guide dog school in the country.

The students seemed to gain much knowledge, enjoyed the presentation, and were able to make real-life connections to a recently read story, Mom’s Best Friend, a story of a visually impaired mother and her experiences at The Seeing Eye.

Joe Menza

Joe Menza

Mayoral candidate Joseph Menza will be in court Thursday afternoon at 1:30 to challenge Monday’s ballot drawing that split his slate into four columns.

Wednesday night, Menza issued a statement blasting Hillside Democratic machine boss Chatlotte DeFilippo as the one responsible.

“The clerk’s office, under the direction of the political boss Charlotte DeFilippo, is attempting to thwart the electoral process,” Menza said. “We must go to the courts to have our team together on the ballot because of technical knit-picking. This tactic is straight out of the DeFilippo playbook.”

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The Hillside Board of Education last night introduced a $50.5 million budget that would raise the school tax levy by about 3.5 percent. The budget must be approved by voters in the April 21 school board election.

If approved, the school tax for a Hillside home assessed at $124,055 would increase by an estimated $60 for the year.

The local tax levy increase would provide the district with $878,879 more than last year, when the school budget remained flat over the previous year.

The budget was approved by all board members in attendance, with members Ralph Humphrey and Tori Issac absent.

The 25-year-old repeatedly shot by Hillside police officers Monday morning on Liberty Avenue has a criminal history, state Department of Corrections records show.

Fuquan Stribling, of Newark, who was shot seven times in a hail of bullets while sitting in his car during the Monday morning incident, was convicted in 2006 on robbery and unlawful possession of handguns charges, which carried a maximum sentence of three years.

Stribling — who has also gone by the names of John Murray, Fu Scribling, Fuquan Scribling and Fuguan Scribling — was released in November 2008.

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Relatives of the 25-year-old man shot by Hillside police officers in his car early Monday morning said today that he was hit seven times in the chest, neck, arms, legs and back in what they called an unprovoked attack. . .

The Union County Prosecutors Office, which is handling the investigation, has declined to release details about the shooting. The office has only said that Hillside police officers were on routine patrol that morning when they came upon Stribling’s car parked in an alleyway off Liberty Avenue at about 1:45 a.m. Soon after, shots were fired, according to the prosecutors office. MORE

No charges have been filed against a male driver shot by Hillside police in an incident early Monday morning, according to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office. Few details released… MORE

STAR-LEDGER: Two Hillside police officers shot a man and a woman during a traffic stop early this morning, according to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office. The shooting happened at around 1:45 a.m. on the corner of Liberty Avenue and Clark Street, said John Holl, a prosecutor’s office spokesman. MORE