Thank you for reading

September 25, 2009 | 8 comments so far, add yours here comment

The Hillsider has “been down” for quite a while now — and will remain so, indefinitely.

Maintaining a hyperlocal news site — often with a staff of one person — is not easy.

The site will remain up so readers can search through our archives.

Perhaps another township resident soon will wish to restart where we left off. Hillside needs it.

On a final note to our readers, we ask that you remain informed. Get your news from the Local Source, the Star-Ledger and the County Watchers. Demand that the media cover Hillside. Attend council and school board meetings. And take ownership of your township.

Motorists feed energy generator at Hillside Burger King

September 7, 2009 | Comments Off on Motorists feed energy generator at Hillside Burger King comment


The next time you order a 670-calorie Whopper at the drive-through, you may help create 2,000 watts of energy.

A Hillside Burger King is the first venue in the country to test a Maryland company’s device that looks like a metal speed bump and aims to capture energy from passing vehicles. As customers pull up to the pickup window to grab their food, they drive over the apparatus, setting off a chain reaction that creates a burst of energy.


Judge annuls mayor’s appointments, says council must approve

September 3, 2009 | 15 comments so far, add yours here comment


A Superior Court judge ruled yesterday that Hillside’s mayor exceeded his authority in appointing a business administrator, attorney and auditor without the township council’s approval.

The judgment comes nearly a month after the township’s governing body sued Mayor Joseph Menza for illegally installing his executive appointments after he took office July 1. The judge agreed with the lawsuit’s contention that the legislation governing the township’s form of government requires council approval for such personnel selections. MORE

Off-duty Hillside cop accused of shooting son

September 1, 2009 | 4 comments so far, add yours here comment


An 18-year veteran of the Hillside Police Department is on administrative leave after allegedly shooting his teenage son in the leg Monday night.

According to Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy, Detective James Holmes returned to his Toms River home Monday around 7 p.m. during a dispute between the 17-year-old victim and the teenager’s mother. The detective became involved in the argument, which ended with Holmes firing a .40-caliber bullet into the victim’s leg. MORE

Mayor Menza halts purchases: ‘We can barely meet payroll’

August 21, 2009 | 99 comments so far, add yours here comment

While the township has $1.1 million on account, a little more than $2 million is owed to the board of education, said Menza. The notoriously late township tax bills have not been mailed and once bills go out, the mayor said, payments won’t start coming in for at least three weeks. MORE

Hillside seeks volunteers for domestic violence program

August 12, 2009 | 6 comments so far, add yours here comment


The Hillside police department, in conjunction with the YWCA of Eastern Union County, is seeking volunteers to join a Domestic Violence Response Team in the township.

The volunteers would meet confidentially with victims of domestic violence at police headquarters on an on-call basis, according to Union County’s response team coordinator Divya Dodhia. MORE

Federal $$$ to repair Central Ave. park restrooms

August 12, 2009 | 4 comments so far, add yours here comment


And nearly $1.4 million in street improvement projects will help repave and repair roadways in Linden, Plainfield, Rahway, Roselle Park, Winfield and Hillside. . .

Hillside, according to township Public Works Superintendent Scott Anderson, will use a slice of the federal money to upgrade the bathrooms at its Central Avenue playground to federal standards. That project will begin by the end of this month, said Anderson. MORE

Former BOE, council candidate appointed to school board

August 12, 2009 | 3 comments so far, add yours here comment


Former school board member Angela Garretson won a seat to the township council in June, opening a seat on the school board. The nine-member board unanimously selected [George Cook III] to fill that vacancy on Thursday.

“The reason I originally ran for council was because I wanted a better relationship between the council and board of education,” said Cook. “I still want to better that relationship.” MORE

‘Corrupt’ Hillside Dem treasurer scores pre-trial deal

August 8, 2009 | 12 comments so far, add yours here comment


The campaign treasurer accused of stealing money from the election fund of a former state assemblyman was admitted into a pretrial intervention (PTI) program over the objections of the state Attorney General’s office.

Rosemary McClave, 66, of Hillside, was indicted on March 23 with one count of third-degree theft by deception and six counts of third-degree tampering with public records. MORE


If McClave, who lives in Hillside, successfully completes the program, the charges against her will be dismissed.

[Peter Aseltine, a spokesman for Attorney General Anne Milgram] said it’s not an appropriate punishment for McClave, whose alleged crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $15,000 fine. MORE


Council sues new mayor; judge scolds both sides

August 6, 2009 | 41 comments so far, add yours here comment


A judge hearing initial arguments in a lawsuit filed by the Hillside council against the township’s mayor spoke sternly to both sides yesterday.

This week, the council sued Mayor Joseph Menza, arguing that he illegally hired a business administrator, attorney and auditor without the body’s consent. The case also contends that Menza improperly barred township department heads from attending council meetings.

After nearly an hour of arguments yesterday, Anzaldi issued a temporary injunction preventing Menza from restricting township department heads from attending public meetings…MORE

Mayor/Council standoff over mayoral appointments

August 5, 2009 | 18 comments so far, add yours here comment


On Tuesday night, the tug-of-war between the mayor and council majority manifested itself in a nearly half-hour argument over where the mayor can sit. And when Menza wanted to address the council, he had to wait for the public comment session, like everyone else. . .

Hillside’s form of government under the Faulkner Act ascribes executive power to the mayor, according to Deborah Kole, the New Jersey League of Municipalities staff attorney. The mayor has authority to appoint department heads with the advice and consent of the council, said Kole. MORE

$107G Central, Maple playground upgrades planned

August 5, 2009 | 5 comments so far, add yours here comment


An infusion of county funds into Hillside will help the township upgrade two of its playgrounds, including one in a state of disrepair.

Nearly $107,000 in improvements are planned for the playgrounds at Maple and Central avenues. Union County’s Kids Recreation Trust Fund put up half the funds and the Union County Improvement Authority is helping Hillside finance the rest. MORE

Meetings still not televised in Hillside

July 19, 2009 | 63 comments so far, add yours here comment


In Hillside, meetings aren’t televised, resolutions go unexplained and getting agendas prior to council sessions can prove difficult — even for some of the township council members.

Ten months after the township’s governing body agreed to post documents on its website and broadcast public meetings, neither has happened. MORE

Hillside: New mayor, same old problems

July 5, 2009 | 131 comments so far, add yours here comment


Hillside politicians are accustomed to an absentee chief executive, department heads communicating with the mayor’s office via lawsuits and a political feud that has ground municipal government to a halt.

Into this steps Joseph Menza, who was installed last week as mayor…MORE

Menza to be sworn is as mayor after winning recount

June 26, 2009 | 24 comments so far, add yours here comment

Joseph Menza will be sworn in as Hillside’s new mayor on July 1 after winning a last-minute recount last week by seven votes.

Menza, who won the runoff election against Councilman Jerome Jewell earlier this month by just one machine vote and several absentee and provisional ballots, will take office at noon on Wednesday, July 1 at the municipal building.

The recount, which was requested by Jewell, resulted in Menza losing one paper vote, which officials said was invalid because of extra markings.

While Menza won the mayor’s office, the council remains under the control of the Hillside Democratic Committee by a veto-proof 5-2 margin.

The council is already flexing its partisan muscle by scheduling the annual organization meeting for 6 p.m. on July 1, four hours after the swearing-in ceremony. In the past, and in most communities, newly elected officials are sworn in during the organization meetings.

Ethics ruling against former school board member read at meeting

June 26, 2009 | Comments Off on Ethics ruling against former school board member read at meeting comment

The state ethics commission decision ruling that former Hillside school board member Elbert Smith be suspended for six months for ethics violations was read publicly at a recent board meeting and the decision must be posted at the board office where public notices are usually displayed, officials said.

In April, Smith lost his bid for re-election, thereby making his suspension moot. Smith had appealed the ruling but the state commissioner of education backed the School Ethics Commission’s determination that Smith overstepped his bounds as a school board member to undermine the high school principal, who was his wife’s boss.

State ed. commissioner upholds ruling against school board member

It’s over — for Jewell; provisional votes solidify Menza win

June 11, 2009 | 42 comments so far, add yours here comment


After counting provisionals, the unofficial vote totals in Tuesday’s runoff for mayor showed Menza receiving 1,710 votes, eight more than Jewell, an incumbent councilman and Newark police detective who garnered 1,702 votes. MORE

Menza scores upset in mayor’s race

June 10, 2009 | 30 comments so far, add yours here comment


The third time appeared to be the charm for businessman Joseph Menza, who upset Jerome Jewell Jr., the candidate backed by the Hillside Democratic Committee, to become mayor of Hillside last night by a margin of only six votes. . .

The township race attracted statewide attention, with gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker making campaign calls on behalf of Menza and Jewell, respectively. . . MORE

Menza has razor-thin lead over Jewell

June 9, 2009 | 14 comments so far, add yours here comment

Realtor Joseph Menza is leading Councilman Jerome Jewell by just six votes in Tuesday’s runoff election for mayor and three at-large council seats.

Menza, however, was not able to carry his council runningmates, meaning the Democratic committee will still control all but two seats on the seven-member council.

People in the Menza camp are attributing the council defeat to the “Deo vote.” Councilman Frank Deo, who ran with Jewell, seems to have been popular in some of the same districts Menza won.

The fight, which has included a four-way race for mayor in last month’s nonpartisan election, may not be over. Jewell and the Hillside Democratic Committee may contest a handful of provisional ballots, or votes recorded on paper rather than in the voting machine because of discrepancies with the voter rolls.

Deo leads the council race with 1706, while Angela Garretson got 1663 and President Carlisle got 1571.

On the Menza slate, Joseph Puglise got 1529, George Cook III got 1503 and Jean Miller got 1460.

Jewell declines to explain $10,400 contribution

May 31, 2009 | 66 comments so far, add yours here comment

Mayoral candidate Jerome Jewell declined a challenge by rival Joseph Menza to address why his campaign received a $10,400 political contribution from something called the Democratic Governors Association and $5,000 from USPO in Elizabeth.

Menza campaign manager John O’Shea told PolitickerNJ: “One might ask what possible interest could the National Democratic Governors Association have in little Hillside. Once it’s determined who the USPO is, a determination of the reason for their involvement can also be made.”

Jewell and Menza face off in a runoff on Tuesday, June 9. Menza has been endorsed by the two other mayoral candidates who fell short in the May vote, former school board member Andre Daniels and Councilwoman Shelley-Ann Bates.

Teen Spring Challenge at W.O.K on Friday

May 28, 2009 | Comments Off on Teen Spring Challenge at W.O.K on Friday comment

Walter O. Krumbiegel Middle School will host a Teen Spring Challenge at the school at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 29.

There will be special presentations by Hillside resident Greg Hines, author of “The Boy Who Wanted Too Much” and record producer and owner of HardKandy Records Inc., as well as district substance abuse coordinator Melba Mullins, also of the Hillside Municipal Alliance.

Chamber of Commerce looks to honor vets

May 28, 2009 | Comments Off on Chamber of Commerce looks to honor vets comment

The Hillside Chamber of Commerce will hold their annual Preview of Summer Picnic at the Municipal Pool on Thursday, June 18 at 5:30 p.m.. All members and honorees are invited for free; guests are asked to pay $20 per person. Reservations can be made by mailing your information to the Hillside Chamber of Commerce, Post Office Box 954, Hillside, New Jersey 07205 by June 15.

Chamber president John Kruse and Program Vice President Ann Marie Kostakos have announced that this year the Chamber would like to honor Hillside residents who have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Please contact Kruse at 908-964-6659 or Kostakos at 908-351-2600 by June 1, 2009 with the names of any Hillside servicemen or women.

State ed. commissioner upholds ruling against school board member

May 23, 2009 | 3 comments so far, add yours here comment

The state’s top education official last week upheld the School Ethics Commission’s finding that former school board member Elbert Smith violated several school ethics rules and upheld the panel’s recommendation that he be suspended for six months.

The suspension may now be a moot point, however, because Hillside voters last month kicked Smith out of office.

In November, the commission ruled that Smith committed four ethics violations between 2006 and 2007 by overstepping his bounds as a board member and undermining the authority of the principal of Hillside High School, where his wife still works as a teacher, as well as the authority of the superintendent.

Read the rest of this entry »

$orry: State says Hillside must return $426G

May 23, 2009 | 4 comments so far, add yours here comment

The state says the Township of Hillside must return $426,126 inadvertently placed in an Urban Enterprise Zone account over the last three years.

Hillside is not alone. Dozens of other municipalities are being asked to return over $40.2 million that was given to them in error.

Local officials around the state are seething at the money-grab, saying it will affect projects and programs already in the works. Star-Ledger has MORE.

Hillside to observe Memorial Day with ceremony Monday morning

May 23, 2009 | Comments Off on Hillside to observe Memorial Day with ceremony Monday morning comment

The Township of Hillside will hold a Memorial Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday at the Municipal Building to honor veterans whose lives were lost.

The Hillside High School ROTC and Hillside Police Department Honor Guard will participate.

Members of the Township Council and District 29 legislators state Sen. Teresa Ruiz, Assemblyman Albert Coutinho and Assemblywoman Grace Spencer are expected to attend.

A list of servicemen from Hillside who never returned is usually read aloud.