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Fair Lawn Week in Review (Feb. 6 - Feb. 11)

Missed any of this week's news? It's all right here.

Monday, Feb. 6

Last month’s  at two Fair Lawn parks and the delivery of an anti-Semitic letter to the have prompted the borough council to take action.

“With the number of instances that have occurred, we just can’t sit back and watch,” said , who proposed forming an interfaith committee at the Jan. 24 council work session. “We really have to make sure we are on top of this, from the local level to the federal level.”

As it turns out,  Sgt. Richard Schultz unknowingly laid the groundwork for such a community interfaith group late last year while performing his standard end-of-year functions.

 Detective Jeff Welsh was recognized Thursday as the 2011-2012 District 2 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by theVeterans of Foreign Wars of New Jersey.

District 2, which comprises all of Bergen County, is the largest VFW district in New Jersey.

Det. Welsh, known within the department for his understated, yet authoritative manner, specializes in fraud investigations and often works with the Secret Service and other government investigative agencies. 

"Brother Jeffrey Welsh is one of those unsung heroes who diligently carries out his work with the finest of work ethics possible," said Det. David Boone, president of Fair Lawn's Policemen's Benevolent Association. "He is a stickler for details and because of his attention to the minute details of cases, is able to solve many cases that others would have closed."

The ADA Committee, which , celebrated another accomplishment this weekend with the installation of a handicap accessible swing door at the .

Installed in mid-December but commemorated Saturday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the low-energy electronic door can be opened automatically by wheelchair-bound residents with the push of a button.

For the committee - which advocates on behalf of community members with disabilities -- it represents the latest in a line of recent achievements that include the installation of a concrete ramp with handrails at  and the  for special needs adults at the .

And that's just the beginning for the thriving committee, whose passionate members already have a number of future projects on their wish list.

Tuesday, Feb. 7

It took some two years of negotiations, but the Fair Lawn Education Association and the  finally .

“It’s been a tough two years,” union president Gene Kuffel said following the board’s ratification of the agreement.

John Mancinelli, who has negotiated five teachers’ contracts in his board tenure, said this was the longest set of talks he’d endured, characterizing it thusly:

“When the people across the table from you don’t want to hear what you’re saying and you can’t accept what they want.”

Mancinelli said there were many nights when negotiation talks stalled entirely, forcing the board to switch tactics.

“We changed the way we negotiated and we changed the personalities of the people we negotiated with…and finally, we hammered it out.”

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Wednesday, Feb. 8

An initial planning meeting of the will be held next Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. in .

In light of the , both borough council and the  decided that reconstituting an interfaith council would be advantageous to the safety and security of local houses of worship.

“With the number of instances that have occurred, we just can’t sit back and watch,” said , who proposed forming an interfaith council at the Jan. 24 council work session. “We really have to make sure we are on top of this, from the local level to the federal level.”

The police department's intention in launching the council is to foster an environment where the leaders of Fair Lawn's religious institutions feel comfortable gathering on a regular basis to break bread and exchange ideas about community issues.

Thursday, Feb. 9

If council moves quickly, Fair Lawn skaters may again have a place to kick, push and coast by summer.

At Tuesday's work session, borough manager Tom Metzler proposed relocating the town's skate park -- pieces of which are currently in storage -- to the Walsh Pool area on Harristown Road by the .

"There’s plenty of parking, it’s a rather large track, it’s away from any homes that there there would be any disruption," Metzler said during a sales pitch to council on the new location.

Last June, the borough opened the Warren Point Annex Skate Park at a converted tennis court on 30th Street and Pellack Drive, but the set up lasted less than a month before .

The borough, which already has spent $35,000 on the park's equipment, has until June to successfully relocate the skate park or lose county open space grant funding for the project.

Fair Lawn, a self-proclaimed "great place to visit," may soon welcome a guest looking to highlight why it's an even "better place to live." 

Producers from the television series "Today in America," have been in touch with the borough about shooting a five-minute promotional video about Fair Lawn that would air 20 times nationwide on a variety of major networks.

The show, hosted by Hall of Fame quarterback and football analyst Terry Bradshaw, explores business, medical and lifestyle trends in communities considered to make up "the heart of mainstream America." 

Friday, Feb. 10

After years of dealing with chronic leaks that have disrupted operations and grown progressively worse over time, the  received assurance this week that it would soon get a new roof.

It just won't be fitted with solar panels or come free of charge as borough council had previously hoped.

Admonished by the borough manager Tuesday that replacement of the library's upper roof could wait no longer, council agreed to forego the installation of solar panels on the new roof for the time being and move ahead with the project.

Councilman Ed Trawinski had been pushing for the solar option for close to a year, but relented after hearing the tenuous condition of the library's upper roof.

“The reason I suggested the solar option is my experience at the county tells me that most of the solar providers are willing...to fix your roof and or reinforce it at no cost to you, if you do the solar deal," he said. "But if the situation is so bad that it literally is leaking then I don’t think we should wait."

For Craig Tiede, Friday night’s Old Library Theatre presentation of his play “Affectations” at the  will be the first time he’s seen one of his works performed before a live audience.

Tiede’s play is one of five original one-act works penned by local writers that will be performed this weekend as part of Old Library Theatre’s first-ever 4x4+1 festival.

Modeled on other original one-act festivals in the area, 4x4+1 was the brainchild of Old Library Theatre producer/director Linda Wielkotz.

Wielkotz’ motivation was two-fold – to diversify the theatre’s offerings beyond just musicals and to provide an outlet for emerging creative writing talent.

“We have our actors, our directors, our technicians in community theater,” Wielkotz said, “but we don’t have a place for people who want to write. And you’re getting a lot more people that write that can’t get their pieces produced…This gives them the opportunity to be part of the community theater world also.”

Saturday, Feb. 11

A Fair Lawn man, whom  believe was driving under the influence, ran his car up an inclined lawn and into a Henderson Boulevard home Friday, just before midnight.

Charges are pending against the car's driver, 18-year-old Steven Sherlock, and his 17-year-old passenger, who were both transported to  with non-life threatening injuries after the crash and have yet to be booked at the police station, Lt. Derek Bastinck said. Police found drug paraphernalia in the vehicle and allege that both parties were under the influence, according to preliminary reports.


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