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November  30


High winds ahead. The National Weather Service is predicting gusts up to 55 mph tomorrow afternoon. Plus rain. With warnings that "poor drainage street flooding" is possible. Look out, Godfrey Road. And send pictures.

November 30, 2004 in Paranoia Beat | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tom's Lament(s)

Swashbuckling schoolbus drivers, slowpokes on the Garden State Parkway and piles of leaves in the middle of the road are the complaints that Bloomfield blogger Tom Biro has, now that the weekend is over and he's been released from obligatory thankfulness.

November 30, 2004 in Buzz | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thanks, We'd Rather Join the Debate Team

Spotted outside the Glen Ridge High School cafeteria today, according to a source inside the school: recruiters from the U.S. Army. They were giving away pamphlets and pencils. Hey, dude, a free pencil. Sign us up.

November 30, 2004 in Buzz | Permalink | Comments (54)

Hazing Arrests

Nineteen members of Montclair State's Delta Chi fraternity have been charged with hazing by the Rockaway Township police.

Making the pledges run and roll in the mud in the dark is funny, maybe. Having them do it near a 100-foot drop, not so much. The incident took place last week near the Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management area.

November 30, 2004 in Sirens | Permalink | Comments (0)

End of an Era

Schweppe Word from the real estate community leaked out yesterday that Jay Schweppe, who sold his business last October to NRT, Inc., the parent company of Burgdorff, is stepping down from day-to-day operations of the merged Valley Road real estate firm.

Schweppe was named NRT's vice president of strategic initiatives for the northeast region last year when the acquisition was announced. He was also going to continue to manage the newly created Schweppe-Burgdorff ERA -- a role that has now ended.

According to reports, yesterday's role change for Schweppe was announced during a meeting that turned funereal, with Schweppe himself becoming choked up and many of his longterm associates crying.

It also coincided with the news that the commission structure for agents would be changed to align with the more generous Burgdorff system -- something that agents at the combined firm had been clamoring for. How or whether the two events are related is unclear. 

Schweppe himself was a major force in the local real estate business. He preached constantly to agents about his views, including the concept of "perception of value," which posited that it was important to price a property low enough to be attractive to the most buyers. "He would say you could never price a house too low," one agent recalled. If three houses on a block were for sale, the house with the lowest price would have the "perception of value" and would often gather multiple bids -- a strategy that, in the end, often yielded the highest selling price.

Schweppe's strategies were so successful that Schweppe's name was revered and feared in local real estate circles. His longterm associate Denise Riordan is also said to be stepping down.

Schweppe has not yet returned our calls.

November 30, 2004 in Buzz, Comings and Goings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Big Apple Comes to Montclair


The Big Apple Circus will be the main attraction at this year's Montclair First Night -- the New Year's Eve celebration for families that features alcohol-free entertainment in venues spread across the downtown.

Clowns, stilt-walkers and other buskers wil bring the circus theme to Montclair's streets. Other acts will include Montclair pianist Robin Spielberg, blues and rock by Sweet Georgia Brown, a NYC subway violinist and a skateboard demo.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children -- with an additional $5 charge for those who want to see the circus. For more info, call 973.509.4958. A www.firstnightmontclair.com website, still under construction, provides a digital countdown to the new year.

November 30, 2004 in Our Favorite Diversions | Permalink | Comments (7)

'Terminally Unhip' ... and Coyotes, Too!

Sometimes the news, Barista-style, just writes itself. If we hadn't been grabbed by the opening of this Boston Globe column,

I don't like to reveal that I live in Newton because it is so terminally unhip. It could be worse; I might live in some white-bread hell like Wayland, or Glen Ridge, N.J.

we surely would have perked up at the reference to suburban coyotes.

There is a small section of Newton called Waban. If Newton is like the Cote d'Azur, Waban resembles the Principality of Monaco: a tiny enclave of unimaginable wealth. Waban borders on precious "open space" -- you know, the kind of land rich people are always anxious to preserve, especially when it abuts their own homes. And guess who's moved in? Coyotes!

And they're desperate to get rid of them.

Wait! Coyotes? This is ringing a bell. It wasn't so long ago that Pat Kenschaft was telling us that coyotes would be good for Montclair because they'd bring the deer population down. Or maybe not.

And Glen Ridge terminally unhip? We beg your pardon. Do they serve sushi in the high school cafeteria in Newton?

November 30, 2004 in Really Freaking Weird | Permalink | Comments (4)

daily dish

November  29

A. The Guy Whose 74-Game Winning Streak Ends Tomorrow Night

Q: Who is Ken Jennings?

Rumors of Jennings' impending loss have circulated for weeks. Kotke.org has audiotape of the Final Jeopardy question he missed.

November 29, 2004 in Major Dudes | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Mighty Wind

Baristanet correspondent Suzanne O'Connor, of Douglas Road in Glen Ridge, sends this picture of the giant, 100-year red oak that toppled in her yard around 4 am Sunday. "The tree was said to be 'old but in good health' in March when it was trimmed," she writes. "Upon post mortem exam it was noted that the tree was rotted inside." The fallen timber took out power to much of Douglas Road yesterday. No one was hurt.

&ETC. According to this story, Douglas Road in Glen Ridge wasn't the only street to lose power locally. PSE&G reported outtages across Montclair yesterday.

November 29, 2004 in Seen around town | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tax Revolts

Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that we reported that someone had started a Yahoo message board for Glen Ridge? Actually, it turns out that the Yahoo Glen Ridge Forum was the second such forum in town. It was preceded by the little-known Glen Ridge Tax Discussions.

Sound arcane? Don't forget, tax discussions can lead to big things.

Speaking of big things, and taxes, look for a forum next Thursday night, when the Glen Ridge Board of Ed and the Garden State Coalition invites taxpayers, parents and school board reps from across the county to discuss the implications of S1701 -- a bill passed by the McGreevey administration last summer to limit school spending. At the heart of the issue are questions about why schools are funded through property taxes in New Jersey, and the long-range implications of the Abbott school funding case.

The forum is called "Schools are Not the Culprit" and will be held in the Ridgewood Ave. auditorium, 235 Ridgewood Ave., Glen Ridge, Thurs. Dec. 9 at 7:30 pm.

&ETC: Lex points out that the New York Times covered the Essex County secession story in the Jersey section on Sunday. The article is not online, so you have to dig it out of your recycling or go to the library. Section 14, page 6.

November 29, 2004 in Buzz | Permalink | Comments (21)

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