Go Home

daily dish

April  20

Fuming in Montclair

School board meetings aren't usually the occasion for guerilla theater. But next Monday night, look for kids to show up at the Montclair Board of Ed wearing dust masks and carrying asthma inhalers.

It's part of the game plan of Marcella Van Winden, Montclair mom and attorney, who started an organization called Healthy Montclair, and who has spent months telling everybody she knows about the health risks created by idling school buses. Diesel fumes from idling buses are known to cause major respiratory problems in kids.School_bus_idling

Van Winden's goal: get Montclair to follow the lead of 40 other districts in New Jersey to take the "Stop the Soot" pledge against any school bus idling. "Stop the Soot," by the way, isn't some wacky environmental nut-case organization. It's a campaign by the Department of Environmental Protection of the State of New Jersey.

It would have seemed like a shoo-in in a town that, in 2003, actually passed a resolution against the war in Iraq.

Van Winden delivered a lengthy policy paper to the BOE, complete with strategies for education, implementation, and enforcement with the help of parent volunteers.  Yet, despite support from the Mayor, town council, and the PTA, the BOE told her that it wasn't a priority and they weren't sure how a "no idling" ban could be enforced.  Baristanet calls yesterday to Superintendent Alvarez were not returned.

The school board meeting with all the excitement will be next Monday,  April 24  at 7:30 p.m., and the district's idling policy is on the agenda, though the "Stop the Soot" pledge is apparently not. For information: [email protected]

April 20, 2006 in Controversy | Permalink


It's about time that the Montclair Board of Education addressed this issue.

You go Mom!

Posted by: Franklin | Apr 20, 2006 9:24:26 AM

Franklin, I'm curious. Is there any even mildly leftist-sounding cause for which you won't issue a sort of "to the barricades" post?

Posted by: cathar | Apr 20, 2006 9:29:08 AM

"'Stop the Soot,' by the way, isn't some wacky environmental nut-case organization. It's a campaign by the Department of Environmental Protection of the State of New Jersey."

...But why, oh why, do you tempt me with these wonderful straight lines? Res ipso loquitor.

Posted by: Conan the Grammarian | Apr 20, 2006 9:34:57 AM

Why stop at school buses? What about all buses that idle? This is not a left vs. right issue. It's a health issue. Last time I checked both conservative and liberals had lungs.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Apr 20, 2006 9:38:01 AM

Which is why I can't fathom why so-called "conservatives"-- like Bush-- block all attempts to clean up the environment.

What planet do they think their children and grandchildren will be living on?

Posted by: latebloomer | Apr 20, 2006 9:40:31 AM

O Grammarian, isn't it "res ipsa loquitur?" Thus is a Papist h.s. grad with for years of Latin there tempted.

Posted by: cathar | Apr 20, 2006 9:42:01 AM

It should be "four" years of Latin, in my haste to give "what for" I stumbled there.

Posted by: cathar | Apr 20, 2006 9:44:08 AM

I can feel Sister Mary Theresa's ruler across my knuckles as we chat...

And does "for" come after thre? I think I flunked math at Our Lady of Perpetual Guilt, too...:)

Posted by: Conan the Grammarian | Apr 20, 2006 9:45:07 AM

oh dear Cathar;

this is a health and safety issue for our kids and for the communnity.

And there are state and epa regulations on the books to deal with 'fuming buses'.

The regualtions need to be taken seriously and enforced.

I am pleased that one Mom has taken a stand!

Posted by: Franklin | Apr 20, 2006 9:46:10 AM

I think cleaning up the environment starts at home, home meaning local and state governments--and YOU, the people! Idling buses is just one example but it starts by people making a stink (pun intended) and taking action.

Yes, NJ has started to recycle more disposable items in the past decade or so but a lot still needs to be done. What about all the garbage see strewn roadside alonmg our major highways? It's easy to point the finger at state and local gubmint but what about the slobs who litter in the first place? We have litter laws in place but they're not being enforced in my opinion.

BTW, for those of you are ecologically minded, the Essex Running Club is holding its annual spring trail clean up this Saturday (Earth Day) at 9 AM. (Trail starts at Verona High School parking lot). Wouldn't hurt to have some extra hands....Bring gloves!

Posted by: Miss Martta | Apr 20, 2006 9:49:44 AM

It's gonna rain on Earth Day. The Montclair Sitting on the Sofa Club will be conducting its second Clean Up the Basement Weekend of the year.

Posted by: appletony | Apr 20, 2006 9:53:43 AM

LOL, Apple....well, I'll be out there rain or shine.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Apr 20, 2006 9:54:29 AM

Oh dear, dear Franklin, my point was that, whenever you, uh, "take a stand," it's accompanied by an exclamation point. As if the soundtrack of your life is "La Marseillaise" or "The Internationale," you know? Is everything so urgent to you? Do you even know?

Posted by: cathar | Apr 20, 2006 9:54:47 AM

miss martta..

If you have ever taken a bus into the NYC port authority bus terminal you will observe postings warning bus drivers about idling their vehicles.

So the laws and regulations are there.

They just need to be enforced.

Posted by: Franklin | Apr 20, 2006 9:57:15 AM

miss martta..

If you have ever taken a bus into the NYC port authority bus terminal you will observe postings warning bus drivers about idling their vehicles.

So the laws and regulations are there.

They just need to be enforced.

Posted by: Franklin | Apr 20, 2006 9:58:05 AM

That's my point...they are not being enforced.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Apr 20, 2006 9:58:07 AM

Even if it rains Saturday, appletony, it's also the day of Columbia's spring football game. So there can be no sofa-sitting for the true Light Blue fans, who have to be there. I even like to think that if the Lions rebound next season, the shocked disbelief from other Ivy teams will contribute to global cooling.

Posted by: cathar | Apr 20, 2006 9:58:17 AM

oh dear cathar:

Since when is concern about the health and well-being of kids and about the commnity merely a 'liberal' issue?

Isnt it something we ALL should be concerned about?

And BTW the (!) is merely a stylistic approach. Your interpetation is another manner.

Too bad your sensitivity to (!) isnt reflected in your concern about a health and safety issuue (double !!)

Posted by: Franklin | Apr 20, 2006 10:01:15 AM

i bought the Imus ranch cleaning products that don't have any toxic chemicals...the glass cleaner and the all-purpose cleaner are the best I've ever used. and there is no inhaling of toxic fumes.

Posted by: Iceman | Apr 20, 2006 10:09:34 AM

Jeepers, when I run on Grove Street weekday mornings I wish I could inflict citizen arrests on the DeCamp buses that spew chewable grit into the air. Yes, so I have taken to running on Ridgewood instead, but isn't it really a concern for all of us that these behemoths so persistently stink up the air?

Maybe Grey Russell can get the schoolbuses running on biodiesel from all the local fryjoints, and then we can stoke the kids' little appetites for their tater tot lunches.

Posted by: Veronica | Apr 20, 2006 10:12:46 AM

If the lighter blue ends '06 with a better record than the darker blue, this darker blue will buy you the adult beverage of your choice at the Baristaville establishment of your choice (once I recover from the understandable shock).

Posted by: appletony | Apr 20, 2006 10:13:25 AM

My sensitivity to issues (interesting how you perceive it as lack thereof, well, sure, you would since I'm not prone to exclamation points) is not the issue. Where, anyway, did I express either disagreement or agreement on the issue of idling school buses?

I merely asked you a question, Franklin. A stylistic one, if you will. Yet unlike how you only apparently ask rhetorical ones, I asked out of genuine curiosity. Is every issue in your posting sights worth an exclamation point? Or two? Do you inevitably take to the barricades? If so (although I doubt it), I can only add, yikes!!!

Posted by: cathar | Apr 20, 2006 10:13:57 AM

My husband (who is a Columbia grad) and I are light blue fans too but shamefully are not attending the spring football game. Too much to do around here.

We will, however, buy our season tickets for the fall season and keep our fingers crossed that the Lions regain some measure of respectability this year. We are die-hards but have been discouraged lately. We attended all 4 years of home games in the 80's when they didn't win one game (the infamous streak) and were there on that fateful day (I believe it was October 8, 1988) when they finally broke their losing streak in the rain against hated Princeton! What a day that was! We also were there all during their winning 8-2 season (1992?) when Marcellus Wiley played on the team. More recently things have not been so upbeat but with the new coach, let's hope for an improvement. Go Lions!

Posted by: mauigirl52 | Apr 20, 2006 10:17:29 AM


I think there comes a time, when an important issue arises, when every citizen should take to the barricades.

As in the movie "Network" there is a time when we're mad as hell and wont take it anymore.

Some choose to speak out on local issues and others on national and international issues.

The important point is to 'speak out' and not remain silent!

Posted by: Franklin | Apr 20, 2006 10:21:29 AM

Appletony, it is not "lighter" blue, it is Columbia Blue which is a specific light blue. Just as Yale Blue is a specific dark blue. (Both, if you want them for your printing needs, are generally specific, trademarked formulations in my experience.)

And why not, for the 2007 season if not the 2006? With Norries Wilson as coach, CU now has something that, if I'm not wrong, no other Ivy school has for its head coach: a graduate himself of a truly major program with bowl game coaching experience. Get that Dom Ruinart ordered and chilled at Obal's, my good man.

Posted by: cathar | Apr 20, 2006 10:23:01 AM

Click & Jump to our INSIDE PAGES:

· In Case You Don't Look at Our Announcement Box
· Window Painting
· Flatulent Friar
· Ballyowen -- The Best $140 a NJ Golfer Can Spend
· Corzine Budget Gets MSU Calling For Action
· Open Space Call For Action
· Closed For Renovations?
· Thrill Seekers
· Heroic Dudes
· Making Montclair's History Demo-Proof

May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004

A Friend Writes
April Fool's!
Bada Bing
Barista Does the Math
Barista's Sunday Poll
Betty Says
Brand New
Civic Virtue
Comings and Goings
Culture Club
Current Affairs
Cute as Hell
Don't Ask: Dating in Baristaville
Flu Shot Central
Food and Drink
From the Crazy Mixed-Up Files of Raymmmondo
Funniest Home Videos
Good Reads by Neil Baldwin
Growing pains
Help Your Barista!
In Your Dreams
Intersections We Hate
Karma Violation
Lights! Camera! Craft service!
Lights, Camera..... Roll Tape
Major Dudes
Marlboro Inn
Movie Mojo
Only in Montclair
Our Favorite Diversions
Paranoia Beat
Parties We Crashed
Party With Baristanet
Photo of the Week
Pop Culture
Postcards from the EB
Really Freaking Weird
Scooped by Phil Read, Again
Scot's Photo Journal
Seasonal Decorating Violation
Seen around town
Seen in Cyberspace
Shopping With Barista
Songs We Can't Get Out of Our Head
Suburban Archeologist
The Daily Chat
The Sunday Barista Poll
The View from Her Pickup
Those Crazy Kids
Time Capsule
We All Bow to Java
We Ask Random Strangers
Where For Art Thou?
Win Stuff
Yard Sale Treasure Map