School Generator Scandal, Hurricane Sandy, Cat Burglar Top November's News
Here's a look at the most popular stories from Westwood, Hillsdale and Washington Township in November.
Westwood Regional Schools Superintendent Geoffrey Zoeller apologized Thursday for taking home a district-owned truck and generator for Hurricane Sandy and leaving them there while he went away on vacation.
"I made a monumental error in judgment," Zoeller said.
The board did not take any action regarding Zoeller at the meeting, but held closed session meetings before and after the regular public meeting to discuss him. Zoeller did not waive his confidentiality rights, so members of the public, including Zoeller himself, were not permitted to sit in on the closed meetings.
Board of Education attorney Rodney Hara confirmed that the board was conducting an investigation of Zoeller. Any action will be taken during a public meeting, according to board President Carol Mountain.
Westwood Education Association President Barry Albert called for Zoeller to step down because of a recent non-binding WEA vote of 222-19 of "no confidence" in Zoeller's ability to lead the district with integrity.
Westwood Regional Schools Superintendent Geoffrey Zoeller confirmed that he was "taking some vacation time," but told Patch via email that it was untrue he had been forced to take a leave by the Board of Education.
Rumors circulated this week that Zoeller had been forced to take a leave of absence pending a review by the Board of Education after he took home a district-owned generator and truck for Hurricane Sandy, and left them there while away on vacation in Florida
A Nor'easter headed toward New Jersey could slow the cleanup from Hurricane Sandy and even cause more power outages, Governor Chris Christie said Tuesday.
Forecasters have predicted the storm will hit New Jersey Wednesday and could bring gusts of 50 or 60 miles per hour. Crews cleaning up from Hurricane Sandy and restoring power are not allowed up in their bucket trucks if winds hit 40 miles per hour or more.
"If you've gotten power, some of you may lose power again," Christie said.
A system for dispensing gas is to begin Saturday to combat long lines at the pump in 12 counties throughout the state.
According to a release from the Governor's Office, citizens of the following counties are now limited on the days in which they can fill up their gas tanks, as per the state Office of Emergency Management: Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Morris, Monmouth, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren.
According to the state, plates ending in an even number can fill up on even numbered days of the month, while plates ending in an odd number can fill up on odd numbered days of the month.
Several polling locations in Westwood, Hillsdale and Washington Township for the election have been changed because of ongoing power outages caused by Hurricane Sandy.
In Westwood, voters from districts 3 and 8 will use the Municipal Complex instead of Brookside School.
Hillsdale residents who were supposed to vote at Meadowbrook School will instead vote at George G. White Middle School.
Washington Township voters in districts 1, 3 and 5 will use Town Hall instead of George School.
Pascack Valley residents, many still without power, flocked to local businesses in search of electricity, gas and other supplies after Hurricane Sandy Wednesday and Thursday.
As residents ran low on gas for their cars and generators, they lined up for blocks to buy gas at any station that had both power and fuel. Sandy DeMilt said dozens of cars were waiting at the Shell in Hillsdale within five minutes of emplyees arriving.
Employees at the Gulf in Hillsdale reported that two customers had a shouting match when one tried to cut in line. Shortly before 11 a.m., Jennifer Garlan said she had been waiting in line since 8:15. The line stretched all the way down to Timmy's Service Center in Westwood.
In Westwood, Vinny Losaco said he saw a tanker arrive at Express and immediately got in line, which went up Madison Avenue and turned onto Washington Avenue. Police had to cut the line at the train tracks.
Two Hampshire Road homes were struck by a "cat burglar" early Wednesday morning, according to Washington Township Police.
The homes had apparently been broken into while the residents were sleeping inside, police said.
An investigation found one home had been entered via an unlocked door, and a door of the other home was pried open.
The burglar got away with jewelrey and cash. Police did not say how much the stolen items were worth.
Governor Chris Christie visited fifth grade students from Ms. Magliato's and Ms. Finkelstein's classes at Berkeley Elementary School Tuesday.
The governor fielded questions from students on subjects ranging from his favorite hobbies — reading, since he doesn't have time to coach his kids' baseball or softball teams — to plans for a run at the presidency — "We'll see."
Christie also spoke to reporters about the state's continuing efforts to recover from Hurricane Sandy, and the possible problems a forecast Nor'easter could cause for that recovery.
He praised school districts like Westwood, which had held combined sessions at two schools Monday, and at one school Tuesday, because of ongoing power outages.
Local officials have canceled Halloween and are advising parents to not let their children go trick-or-treating because of hazardous conditions from Hurricane Sandy.