Westfield Residents Take Back Their Town!

March 1, 2010

Another story that I came across…

Angry Westfield residents have decided to do something once and for all about the unruly children that have taken over Mindowaskin Park as well as other iconic landmarks of their beloved town. Starting next Friday night members of the Westfield Evermore Society for Unequivocally Controlling Kids will be placing individuals in Mindowaskin Park and other locations known for adolescent malfeasance. The sentries will be armed with cell phones and cameras in order to catch any children that are committing crimes such as smoking, drinking, reckless skateboarding as well as any other heinous activities too vile to mention.

A Mr. Robert Help has been the most vocal about the offenses and wants to close the park altogether.

In support of Mr. Help, an employee of the Westfield Municipal department has spoken anonymously on the subject and stated, “Those kids are out of control! They hide in the bushes, they share a pack of cigarettes between 15 kids and they overflow the recycle bins with empty beer cans and bottles and they don’t even care that they often put their garbage in the same bins as the recyclables”.

“We simply can’t close the Park because a couple of kids want to be kids.” said Henrietta Tolerenta who grew up in town. “I remember when we were kids and we did the exact same thing. Only, when we got caught, the cops made you pour out your beer and threaten to call your folks if you didn’t scatter all at once which we did and we would go find someplace better to hang out like somebody’s house whose parents were away.”

The Westfield Police Department did not respond to phone calls about the allegations but an officer was seen sleeping in their car near the area where the activities have been occurring in an apparent stake out.

“Given the close proximity of the Police Station to the activity it seems as though it could be better controlled if there was a real need to control it” said one passerby. “The fact that most of the kids are from town and that Westfield has been sued in the past for harassing the children by some of the more prominent parents could be one reason why the police have not acted.”

If the members of the Evermore Society have their way, they are going to post the names and picture of each child they catch on their new website entitled seethembeforecollege.com which is intended to give colleges a real time perspective of the things that their applicants may be doing.

“We’ll have them in court for slander” said one father of a teenager who has had trouble with the Evermore Society in the past. “Just because my child wants to have fun doesn’t mean that some group of do-gooders can hurt their chances of an Ivy League education.”

Another concerned parent has stated that they will be there to offer support to the children by offering them something to eat while they try to get drunk. In their words “Children just need a little guidance. It’s not like they have a bartender to cut them off like adults do. By offering them food we’ll help teach them how to drink more responsibly.”

And so, the debate heats up! Will the ultra conservatives like Mr. Help prevail and see that that the town closes places like Mindowaskin in order to curtail juvenile delinquency?

Or, will the parents of these ultra-coddled, soft and spoiled children continue to let their kids run wild in the streets?

Only time will tell!

A follow up story will be available after Friday night’s surveillance initiative.

J’apprends le Français

December 24, 2009

Yes, it’s true. I am doing my best to learn French. I have been listening to Pimsleur religiously in the car back and forth to my new job at ADP in Dayton, New Jersey.

The commute really isn’t that bad since I hop on the Parkway South to the Turnpike South and my office is right off of Exit 8A. With the Turnpike moving along like the German Autobahn, I get there in no time.

What this extra hour a day has afforded me is a great time to practice speaking French but learning it this way has not taught me how to read or write French at all. I’m not worried about that since I do not have any plans of reading it or writing it anyway as my goal is to simply learn enough French to converse better when Kerry and I travel back to France or perhaps up to Quebec in the hopefully near future. Once I learn that much French I’m going to learn the same basic material in German.

One of my newest learning tools has been working out quite nicely. I found a website that is France’s equivalent to our QVC or Home Shopping Network. Besides being an excellent way to watch TV in French and being able to figure out the subject matter very easily, the women are all supermodels and make the time spent learning rather fun.

The other Internet resource that I am really enjoying is the Anneberg program French in Action that has 52 half hour videos that are likewise done completely in French but in such a way that they are really easy to follow and learn. It uses the Capretz method of French Immersion. The storyline is rather cheesy but its cute. There are scenes where the guy keeps hitting on the girl relentlessly until she says “absolument pas” and storms away!

My goal is to spend at least 30 minutes a day watching or listening to the French language being spoken even though I do not understand what they are saying. I am able to pull out words or phrases that I do understand and then I seem able to figure out a few words around the ones that I understand.

Au revoir!

Let’s Advertise This More

December 3, 2009

This is what happens when someone gets caught buying guns illegally for someone else. I hope that they make an example of this event because if they do, they might not have to make it so hard for law-abiding citizens to exercise their own rights.

Buying a gun for someone else that should not own a gun should be an even more severely punished crime than it is now! Furthermore, if the gun is later found to have been used in a crime, then the straw purchaser should be held responsible for the crime as if they did it themselves.

I bet it wouldn’t happen anymore.

This is a Federal Offense!

Westfield NJ Woman Gets 15 Years For Aiding Killer

WESTFIELD LEADER– A Westfield woman was charged last month with making false statements to purchase a firearm for a person who was prohibited from possessing it, announced United States Attorney Michael Levy.

Emily Joy Gross, 24, has been charged with one count of making false statements in connection with the purchase of a firearm, and one count of aiding and abetting a prohibited person to possess a firearm.

According to news reports, Daniel Autenrieth, 31, led police on a 40-mile highway chase, from outside Easton, Pa. to the Poconos, after Autenrieth kidnapped his nine-year-old son at gunpoint from the boy’s mother at her townhouse in Nazareth, Pa. following an argument. Autenrieth shot and killed Pennsylvania State Trooper Joshua Miller, 34, and wounded a second trooper with the pistol allegedly purchased by Gross, police said. Autenrieth was killed during a shooting exchange with troopers who rescued the child at the start of the gun battle.

The child’s mother reportedly had an order of protection against Autenrieth. Because of the order, Autenrieth was prohibited from possessing a firearm.

The United States Attorney’s Office for Eastern Pennsylvania alleges that on May 29, Gross purchased a Taurus nine-millimeter pistol and ammunition from a store in Hamburg, Pa. Authorities said Gross falsely stated that she was living at an address in Pennsylvania when, in fact, she was living in Westfield.

In addition, Gross has been charged with aiding and abetting the illegal possession of the firearm by a person who was prohibited from possessing any firearm under federal law because he was subject to a Protection From Abuse Order.

If convicted, Gross could face a maximum possible sentence of 15 years of imprisonment, three years of supervised release and a $500,000 fine.

East Bound and Down!

October 20, 2009

Like Smokey and The Bandit Kerry and I joined a convoy last weekend and although we weren’t hauling contraband Coors Beer, what we were hauling made us feel just as giddy!

We were hauling puppies!

We have recently joined up with a group that moves dogs around the country from kill-shelters to non-kill shelters and to foster homes. I never even knew that this was going on until speaking with a White Shepherd Rescue that has now approved us to be a foster home.

Kerry and I were both nervous at first not knowing what to expect but everything turned out great. We picked up our load (each dog referred to by weight) at a parking lot in Center Valley where we got them from a convoy of other vehicles who had arrived only minutes earlier from some spot further South.

We had a “40 pounder” and two “20 pounders”. One of the 20 pounders named Roger really caught Kerry’s eye but we were told it was bad transport etiquette to ask to keep one of your transport dogs. We still thought about it though…

At the stop in Pennsylvania we chatted about the dogs with the other drivers, loaded the dogs in our truck that was filled with cages and followed another car with 5 dogs in it North and East.

Not knowing that we needed slip leashes one of the members of the earlier transport team was nice enough to give Kerry and me a dozen new leashes still in their package wishing us good luck as the newest members of the group. We could tell this was a friendly bunch!

Our drive was only an hour or so North and East to Lafayette New Jersey to a very humble shelter named Father John’s Animal House. Everyone was thrilled when we arrived including the dogs and we felt great that our little friends were safe from the kill shelter that they left hopefully far behind.

It has invigorated Kerry and me to do more of this and we have already agreed to make another run next weekend from Basking Ridge New Jersey up to Bloomingdale New Jersey. Just a 30-minute ride for us but what will hopefully turn into a lifetime for a few little dogs in search of a home.

Helping dogs is becoming a true avocation and the feeling that it gives in return is well worth the effort. If anyone would like to get involved, please email me and I’ll let you know when the next run is.

How do people do it?

October 8, 2009

How do they push their pets, in this case two dogs, out the door and onto the street?

A friend of ours just called and said her friend picked up two dogs in Scotch Plains and took them to a vet only to find out that they were chipped. When she got the owner’s name and address from the chips, she showed up at their house expecting a happy reunion.

Instead, the owner said that they are going through a divorce and “quite frankly I opened up the door and kicked them out”.

Well, I’ll tell you what I feel like doing right now but this is a family oriented site.

So instead of risking possible incarceration, we’re manning the phones and trying to find a place for these dogs to go until we can assess the situation and find them homes.


What goes around comes around though…I hope the lawyers take all their money!

Lora’s Restaurant Review “4 Stars”

October 2, 2009
Picture Taken from Westfield Blog (Click to see their entry)

Picture Taken from Westfield Blog (Click to see their entry)

I have often thought about starting to do my own restaurant reviews on this blog but then I think it might get me in trouble if I talk about something or someplace that I don’t really like.

Then I realized that I already skate on thin ice from time to time so why stop now…

After lunch today I was compelled to talk about a great little place that I have discovered in Cranford in what is called Centennial Village. As such, I’ll make this my first official restaurant review.

It is called Lora’s and it is located at 215 Centennial Avenue in Cranford (908) 931-9600.

See the menu

This is the third time that I have been there, twice for breakfast and now once for lunch. I ordered chicken soup for $3 and a chicken kebab for $6.99, which came with a small garden salad. Including my soda I was out of there for just over $11. (A little more than I like to spend nowadays but its Friday and I didn’t have breakfast this morning).

In no uncertain terms, it was delicious. The soup was obviously home made and was served with a nice piece of bread. The salad was fresh with lots of cherry tomatoes and cucumbers along with a very tasty ranch dressing. The chicken kebab with rice was a nice portion and also very tasty.

The two times that I had breakfast there the price was right and the food was also very good. A bagel with cream cheese is only $1.50 and an egg sandwich only $1.85. Those prices are hard to beat.

The owners are both very nice and attentive to everyone’s needs. The décor is very European with a very quaint feel. It is very clean and the coffee is good, not great. (Lacas is still my favorite no matter where I go) Parking on the street requires that you pay at the meter but there is free parking in the back. Since Centennial Village never seems that crowded, it’s very easy to do take out. (Much easier than some other places I know where the parking is abysmal and the meter maids wait in dark alleys to pounce on unsuspecting patrons)

Overall, in my newly created lunch and breakfast category, I’m going to start this one off with 4 out of 5 stars. (Their rating may go up to 4 1/2 as I have many more places to compare them against and since I want the coveted 5 star rating to be almost impossible to achieve, I didn’t want to start too high)

Tune in again soon as I am going to try to rate at least one place per week in the Westfield, Clark and Cranford area. I may go further out for some really unique places.

Since I must have a catchy saying when I say goodbye, I’m going to choose to say it in the language that I am trying to learn; French.

So here it goes…

“Mangez, dormez et mangez certains plus”…which translates into “Eat, Sleep and Eat Some More”… Do you like it?

I have also decided that I am going to do some architectural reviews and take pictures and comment on houses and buildings that I really like and some that I really can’t stand…I’ve already got a long list!

Tattoo Parlor Comes To Westfield

September 24, 2009

I saw this article and I couldn’t believe by eyes…

Tattoo Parlor Comes To Westfield

Upon learning that a Tattoo Parlor is moving into a yet to be disclosed downtown Westfield location, local residents are up in arms about what is to become of their beloved town.

Speaking on anonymity, the owner of the proposed Tattoo Parlor explained that he identified the town as an ideal location given its demographics and proximity to the train station.

“We hope to draw people from Newark and Plainfield to come into town on the train and get their Tats here” he said as he walked down Quimby Street noticing the large number of recent vacancies. “It should be good for the town to have us here, as our patrons are usually quite hungry after they spend so much time in the chair. There are plenty of nice places here for them to eat, especially the sushi and the burger joint. They may even shop too if there are any stores left.”

The owner believes that the relative good reputation of the town will also bring patrons from nicer suburban locations like Cranford and Summit besides Westfield itself. Apparently the rise in the number of middle age women and teenagers that are getting tattoos has made the industry quite profitable and the statistics show that being close to your customers makes a huge difference. The only problem that they anticipate facing is trying to get the town to let them stay open until midnight or even later since that’s when most people decide to get them.

“We would like to be close to one of the many bars in town since we see a lot of drunk people coming out of them on the weekends” the owner added. Apparently alcohol is good for business even though he admits that they are not supposed to service any drunken customers unless they come and sign the paperwork ahead of time. He said that for every 100 drunk people he inks he only has one or two that come back later with some form of a complaint…even less for underage kids.

“We have already decided to keep our signage relatively small and we are going to suggest that our motorcycle driving customers park their bikes on the South side of town where they will be less annoying given their loud exhaust pipes. We definately want to be on the North side however, since that’s where all the action is. We are talking to a number of residents just South of the train station about letting us set up a parking lot for motorcycles.”

One local resident voiced great distain for the proposed shop but added that if nothing can be done to get any decent establishments into the stores, that Tattoo parlors, Head Shops and quite possibly a Massage Parlor or two will probably end up coming in to fill the void.

“At least there will be some businesses to pay the property taxes and to keep people coming to town to and pay a lot of parking fines” she added. “We’ll just have to hire more police and get them new cars to drive around and patrol in. Maybe they can get a few of those fancy stand-up scooters for the parking enforcement people too.”

The long term plans of the owner are to start with a Tattoo parlor and then add a pool-hall and video game annex for his patrons to use while they wait their turn under the gun.

“You need to keep my kind of customers busy while they wait or else they get kind of excitable. We want to do everything in our power to avoid that, as we really are going to try and be good corporate citizens.”

He informs us that a special Tattoo in the shape of the Great Seal of Westfield has been designed and will be applied for free to any local politicians or members of the Downtown Westfield Corporation that would like to get one. It is about the size of a silver dollar and can be modified with a barbed wire outline if anyone likes a more deviant look.

Brendan’s Meadows Update

September 7, 2009

We’re holding our first official fund raisers to collect enough money to hire a lawyer and an accountant to set up our 501(c)3.

To do this we will be doing two things to raise money; selling shirts and dog treats.

Brendan's Meadows Shirt

Brendan's Meadows Shirt

Our shirts are for sale for $40 a piece and can be ordered on the Brendan’s Meadows website. Notice the incredibly cute mascot!

Our dog treats will be debuted at our upcoming wine and cheese party this October where we hope to celebrate the creation of our non-profit status. (Donations will officially be accepted at that point)

Our classically trained chef, ChefJimbo, will be preparing the treats which will be given out to each attendee as well as to whatever local pet stores we can rally to support us. Chef Jimbo not only cooks with a stove but does equally well with a guitar and keyboard…There might even be an official Brendan’s Meadows Theme Song for the affair as well???

Now that summer is over, its time to get this thing up and running!

Stay tuned for more…

Nana’s “Melt in Mouth” Blueberry Cake

August 25, 2009

blueberry cakeThis is another one of my Grandmother Burrell’s incredible recipes. I can remember walking down our driveway to her house and smelling the most wonderful aroma of fresh blueberry cake that she would often make just for me after I would go over to their friends house on Dewey Lane and pick a batch of enormous Cape Cod blueberries.

I’m placing it here for posterity and to share with everyone who loves blueberry cake!


  • 2 Eggs Separated
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • ½ Cup of Shortening
  • ¼ Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
  • 1 ½ Cups of Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/3 Cup of Milk
  • 1 ½ Cups of Fresh Blueberries


Beat the egg whites until they are stiff. Add ½ cups of sugar to keep them stiff. Cream the shortening and add the salt and vanilla. Add the remaining sugar gradually. Add the unbeaten egg yolks and beat everything until it is light and creamy. Add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk. Fold in the beaten egg whites. Fold in the fresh berries. (Take a bit of flour and gently shake berries in the mix so they won’t settle) Turn the mix into an 8” x 8” aluminum pan (Preferably one that has been in the family for at least 30 years). Sprinkle the top of the batter lightly with granulated sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes.

Find some adoring relatives and serve it to them with a big glass of milk and lots of love!

Wrestle Mania!

August 21, 2009

When Meadow first came to us I have to admit that I was a little timid towards her. She was a large dog, albeit poorly nourished. Her temperament was a big question mark and at times I thought that she had it in her to turn on me. Now, after gaining much more confidence towards her and having had to wrestle her into submission lately, I am amazed that she has never turned on me and I don’t think that she ever will.

Meadow on 8/20/2009

Meadow on 8/20/2009

She’s only two I’ve kept telling myself.

When she came to us as Princess, I can definitely see how the previous owners came to give her that name. The dog had absolutely no remorse and very little respect for what anyone wanted.

Catching her in the garbage…nothing.

Catching her with plates and bowls that she lifted from the sink….nothing.

Catching her after laying on the couch….nothing.

No remorse, not even a dropped ear.

However, she does all of this when we are not looking. The only bad thing that she ever does in front of us has to do with how she treats Sam and Gandalf and in particular Gandalf.

Sam does not have it so bad. He is her personal play toy and thank goodness for his sake that he is extremely submissive. I find myself constantly telling Meadow to leave him alone and then try to occupy her attention with something that I am doing but it rarely helps. I usually have to go over to them like a referee and put them in neutral corners if I want it to stop.

I think Sam likes to play some of the time. I have seen him paw at her when she stops knawing on him and he only shows his teeth or cries when he’s fed up. Fortunately, when he cries, she leaves him alone.

Gandalf on the other hand is a totally different issue. She would like to tell him what to do or not to do but when she tries, the fur flies and once again I need to wrestle her into submission.

Even though we just finished 8 weeks of training, she doesn’t do “down” very well and she only “stays” when you keep staring at her. The second you turn away she’s up. As far as “down” goes, it always requires a strong coaxing but she has never nipped or growled. If she did, we would have a serious problem and I think that she knows it.

Gandalf however, is not going to be told what to do and submit to her so I guess we have a problem until she either calms down, learns to listen to me when I tell her to “leave it” or until Gandalf attacks her once and for all and gives it to her really good! The last alternative, I hate to say, is that she breaks the ol’ guy down so badly he finally does submit, or else he dies.

Knowing his personality as well as I do, he would never give her that satisfaction.

I recently had her with my son’s Portuguese water dog Bella who is exactly one year younger than she is. What I learned from watching her with Bella is that Meadow is not a viscous dog because she was so incredibly good with Bella who must be half of her height and weight, if not less.

They jumped on each other, nipped at each other without hurting one another and generally played like they were littermates even though one was a 70 pound white dog with straight fur and the other was a 35 pound dog with black wavy hair.

It was incredibly fun to watch and I have had her with other dogs since then and she is equally fun-loving and playful. I would suggest another puppy to Kerry for the sake of Meadow having a playmate but that would go over like a lead balloon until we have Brendan’s Meadows up and running.

Nevertheless, my 16 year old four legged daughter is giving me as much angst as a two legged version would probably give me.

Thank God that no boys are ringing the doorbell and that she can’t drive a car.