There was no shortage of news in Westfield in 2011. Patch takes a look at the stories that made the biggest headlines.
Early March saw Board of Education Business Administrator Robert Berman charged in a bid-rigging scandal. In October, the 55-year-old South Plainfield resident pleaded guilty to third-degree conspiracy to make false representations for a government contract, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.
The April election of Mark Friedman and Rosanne Kurstedt to the BOE ushered in a new era of school governance in Westfield. The duo completed the move in the last three elections to put new faces on the board, shifting power to a new coalition. The two joined with Rich Mattessich, David Finn and Mitch Slater on various issues of transparency, including seeking to implement a Facebook page for the district and to give each board member email address, moves that were met with resistance from the board's more senior members.
Also in April, a four-alarm fire broke out in the second floor of the two-story Westfield Hamilton House apartment complex. The blaze left one man critically injured and several people homeless.
Another WHS coach found himself in trouble with the law. In September, John Turnbull, varsity golf coach, was charged with serving a glass of wine each to two 17-year-olds at a Westfield restaurant. In October, Turnbull pleaded guilty in Westfield Municipal Court to a single count of serving alcohol to a minor and was sentenced to an $850 fine and 10 days of community service.
In late August, Hurricane Irene took Westfield by storm and left businesses and residences without power for days.
Mother Nature wreaked havoc on Westfield once again with an October snowstorm that left the streets of filled with debris and another mess for residents and business owners.