Union County Week in Review: Fire Claims Lives of Mother and Child, Students Hit By Car En Route to School

Top stories in Union County this week.


Local Knitters Flock to Clark's 'All About Ewe'

Scotch Plains resident Lisa Marazzo recently opened All About Ewe, a knitting shop and school on the corner of Madison Hill Road and Westfield Avenue in Clark. The shop offers yarn in every weight and every price point, all different kinds of dyed and undyed fiber for spinning, knitting needles, accessories, buttons, project bags, books and magazines, finishing services and yarn detangling. Plus, All About Ewe is also in the business of getting folks started knitting, with lots of intro classes and kids classes, plus more advanced lessons on things like drop spindle and wheel spinning, weaving and more. 

As students headed to school in the wake of Friday's Newtown tragedy on Monday, administrators and faculty at Clark and Garwood schools talked to students, provided counseling and reassured parents about school safety procedures. In Garwood, Superintendent Dr. Teresa Quigley said faculty worked hard at having a normal school day. On Sunday night, Clark district parents also received an alert about the district's plan of action for Monday. Read the full story here. 


Cops: Cranford Man Seriously Injured Will Receive Summons

A Cranford man was transported to Morristown Medical Center Tuesday afternoon after police said he "suffered serious injuries" when he allegedly crashed into an moving car. Chatham police said they will be issuing a summons for failure to exercise due care when passing a standing or slow-moving vehicle proceeding in the same direction.

Police Nab 2 Men in Package Thefts

Police believe the men, from Hillside, were casing the street. "They actually had to turn around, return to a home with a box on the front porch, and then one actor exited the vehicle and retrieved the package," said Det. Sgt. Gerard Quinn. He said their actions, based on eyewitness accounts, were "indicative of the fact they were looking for targets." 

Cranford Is Denied Motion in Birchwood Fight

At this week's Union County Superior Court hearing in the Birchwood development case, Judge Lisa Chrystal denied the township's motion for a new trial. The judge also scheduled a hearing on the final site plan approval for the 360-unit affordable housing project for early next year. Chrystal scheduled a hearing on the final site plan for the Birchwood Avenue property on Feb. 4, 2013 at 10a.m. A final decision is expected that day, or soon thereafter, according to Morin. A final decision will clear the way for the township to appeal and continue its fight against the Birchwood development. 


[PHOTOS] Garwood Breaks Ground on Athletic Field Complex

Garwood officials and residents gathered at the borough's Little League Field to celebrate the groundbreaking of the long-discussed Athletic Field Complex on Dec. 15. The $3.2-million project includes a new multi-purpose turf field, field house with a full kitchen and activity space, upgrades and lighting for the existing baseball field, and a bocce court. It will be partially funded with $1.1 million in county and state grants.Plans for the building of the complex have been underway for more than 10 years. 

New Providence:

The horrific shooting that claimed the lives of 20 elementary school children and six adults in Connecticut on Friday continues to affect communities near and far, including New Providence. On Monday, New Providence School District administrators and faculty monitored students carefully while reassuring parents of the districts’ safety procedures. At the same time, borough officials began looking for a way to symbolically remember the lives lost in this unspeakable tragedy.

Between Dec. 8 and Dec. 16, New Providence Police charged two individuals with DWIs in separate incidents, among other offenses, handled a report of a robbert scam and arrested a Caldwell resident for an outstanding warrant out of Cranford.

According to users who voted in our annual Deck the House contest, this home from Jeffrey H. has the best holiday lights in New Providence and Berkeley Heights:http://deckthehouse.patch.com/entry/1086901 We will choose 24 finalists from all our entries across the country. From Dec. 18 — Dec. 27, vote for your favorite and that person could win $100,000 for his or her local school district. All you have to do is visit this page to browse a gallery of the finalists and cast your vote. On Dec. 28, we’ll announce the grand prize winner of our Deck the House contest.

Scotch Plains:

Deaths of Mother and Child in Church Avenue Fire Ruled Homicide/Suicide

The deaths of a 32-year-old woman and her three-year-old son in a Scotch Plains house fire on Tuesday evening have been ruled a homicide/suicide by the Scotch Plains Police Department along with the Union County Homicide Task Force, after an investigation revealed rags doused with an accelerant were blocking the door to a bedroom. The woman and child have been identified as Katherine Halverson and Jeremy McDonald, Jr. Firefighters arrived to the Church Avenue home sometime after 7 p.m. on Dec. 18 and found the mother, child and family dog unresponsive in a second story bedroom. Halverson and McDonald Jr, were later pronounced dead at Overlook Hospital, the dog also died in the fire.

Fanwood Wedding Dress Thief Arrested

The woman that walked out of a Fanwood shop without paying for a $5,000 wedding dress has been arrested. Brigid Hanrahan, 40, of Piscataway has been positively identified by Fanwood PD as the woman in the security camera photograph leaving Seng Couture with the dress. The Fanwood Police Department thanks everyone who called to assist with the investigation.

Owners of K-9 Resorts in Fanwood to Open Locations Across NJ

Lifelong Scotch Plains residents and Fanwood business owners, Jason and Steven Parker, are expanding their business K-9 Resorts Daycare & Luxury Hotel across New Jersey. The brothers are franchising six locations in New Jersey and one in Virginia. The brothers have seen success in Fanwood and have always wanted to expand the business since opening on South Avenue in 2005. The younger of the two Parker brothers, Jason, 25, has also been recognized as the youngest franchise owner in America since he was 23.


In response to last week’s school shooting in Newtown, CT, Springfield school and safety officials spoke with parents at length about safety procedures at Springfield Schools at the Springfield Schools Board of Education meeting. Chief of Police John Cook joined school officials in a presentation on safety precautions. During the presentation and the question and answer session that followed, parents questioned if the safety measures in place were enough.

After Union County officials recounted the ballots cast by Springfield residents in the 2012 election, the margin of victory for township Democratic Committee member elect Margaret Bandrowski reportedly slipped from five votes to four. 

Sidar Sworn in as Police Officer

Springfield Police Chief John Cook and Mayor Ziad Shehady swore in Ercan Sidar as a Probationary Officer at the Springfield Township Committee meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 19. Since December, 2011, Sidar has served the police department as Special Law Enforcement Officer. His late father, Tony Sidar, was a squad. Ercan Sidar started at the special law enforcement officer academy the week after his father died from complications from Leukemia. 


In light of the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT on Friday, Dec. 14, Summit Police Chief Robert Weck is reassuring the public that he and his department are commited to providing Summit students with a safe learning environment. Superintendent Parker released a letter to parents of Summit students on Friday, Dec. 14 with a response to this tragedy, recommendations to limit children's exposure to news reports, and suggestions for engaging with their children in a discussion at home. See Parker's letter here.

Summit Police Investigate Swastika Graffiti on Resident's Property

A swastika was found on the side of a Passaic Avenue resident’s detached garage on Dec. 16 around 10:30 p.m. in an incident which is currently being investigated as an act of graffiti and criminal mischief by Summit Police. Sgt. Peter Frank said the swastika measured about 1 ½ feet by 1 ½ feet, and was drawn in thin black lines on the rear of the detached garage, facing the resident’s property, meaning the person who drew the swastika was on the resident’s actual property. He said the couple living there has young children and the family is part Jewish, part Christian. Without further evidence, Frank said there is no way to classify this as a hate crime. Any residents with information about this incident may contact Sgt. Frank or Detective Christopher Madina at (908) 273-0051.

Summit Police arrested two Brooklyn residents on Monday for possession with about 30 pounds of marijuana. Thomas I. Juilet, 59, and Onofrio Genovese, 53, were arrested after a joint investigation was conducted by the Summit Police Department Detective Bureau, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, the Drug Enforcement Agency, which revealed that a sizable quantity of marijuana was being transported through a shipping agency in Summit from out of state.

Summit Police handled a number of thefts, reports of mischief, and arrests for possession of marijuana and Driving While Intoxicated between Dec. 6 and Dec. 19.


Children Stuck By Car in Front of Edison School

Two Edison Intermediate students were hit by a car on their way to school just before 8 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 20. The driver who struck the children claimed she did not see them nor the crossing guard due to sun glare. Both students were taken to the hospital were one was treated for a head injury and the other was treated for an arm injury. Edison Principal Matt Bolton issued a statement Thursday afternoon updating parents on the children's condition.

Busy First Day at Urban Outfitters

International retailor Urban Outfitters set up shop at 154 E. Broad St. and opened its door at 10 a.m. on Thursday. Throngs of shoppers filled the store by midday. An official ribbon cutting ceremony was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 22. 

Carlton Franklin Found Guilty of 1976 Murder of Lena Triano

Family members of Lena Triano, the 57 year old who was murdered in her Ripley Place home in 1976, are grateful to hear that her killer has been brought to justice. The Union County Prosecutor's Office announced late Thursday that Carlton Franklin, 52, had been found guilty of murdering his neighbor. The case was particularly challenging for prosecutors who, under state law, had to handle the case according to the laws of 1976, when Franklin was just 15 years old.

Rationally Speaking December 23, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Please run this Union County Week in Review EVERY week.....INCREDIBLY HELPFUL!


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