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Assemblyman's Plea Deal Offer, Property Owner's Flood Law Violation, Shop's T.V. Appearance Top March's Popular Stories

Here's a look at the most-viewed stories from Westwood, Hillsdale and Washington Township during March 2013.

Assemblyman Schroeder Offered Plea Deal

State officials offered New Jersey Assemblyman Robert Schroeder a plea deal for the charges that he swindled $1.8 million from investors and wrote bad checks worth $3.4 million for loan payments during an arraignment hearing Friday morning.

Deputy Attorney General Veronica Allende offered Schroeder a sentence of five years in state prison if he pleads guilty to the second degree offenses of writing bad checks and theft by deception.

As conditions of the plea, Schroeder would have to agree to pay back about $5 million in restitution, forfeit his State Assembly seat and agree to be barred from ever holding public office again.

DEP: Proposed CVS Site Owner Violated State Law

The owner of a Washington Township property being considered for use as a CVS violated New Jersey's Flood Hazard Area Control Act, according to officials from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

In a February 4 letter to 660 Pascack Realty, LLC, the owner of the properties, Bureau of Coastal and Land Use Compliance and Enforcement Regional Supervisor Armand Perez wrote that the violations included the removal of vegetation, placement of fill and construction of a retaining wall.

Conrad's Confectionery Appearing on 'The Chew'

A crew from ABC's daytime talk/cooking showThe Chew was in Westwood Wednesday filming a segment at Conrad's Confectionery.

Host Carla Hall, known for her appearances on two seasons of Top Chef, interviewed J.J. Krachtus about the shop's chocolate Easter bunnies, which range in size from just 2 inches to 3 feet in height. 

Watch Conrad's appearance on the show here.

Elizabeth Fasciano Dies at 7

Elizabeth Fasciano, the 7-year-old Westwood girl who residents had rallied to support, died Sunday, according to her obituary.

Elizabeth was diagnosed with brain cancer when she was 13 months old and underwent numerous treatments during her life.

Westwood's Assessed Value Drops $17M

The assessed value of Westwood has dropped by about $17 million this year because of tax appeals, a decrease in taxable properties and the former Pascack Valley Hospital remaining closed, auditor Gary Vinci said at a recent borough council meeting.

New Restaurant 'Grange' Opening in Westwood Next Month

A new eatery led by a pair of established Bergen County restaurateurs is planning to open in downtown Westwood next month.

Grange, which is setting up shop in Mezza's original location on Westwood Avenue, will be the effort of proprietor Brian Powell, who opened and managed Chakra in Paramus, and chef Christine Nunn, formerly of the award-winningPicnic in Fair Lawn.

Nunn will be preparing a menu which offers "a modern take on classic American dishes, simple yet elegant, with a twist of French technique or a surprising ingredient or two."

Parkway Crash Leads to Drug Arrest

A man who drove off the Garden State Parkway and crashed his car into a tree in Washington Township Thursday was charged with DUI and possession of prescription drugs, according to State Police Sgt. Adam Grossman.

Joseph Bruno, 25, of New City, N.Y., was reportedly driving erratically on the southbound side of the highway before the accident, Grossman said. Bruno's white Jeep Grand Cherokee then swerved off the road into the center median, where it struck a tree at about 9:55 a.m.

There were at least 10 homes sold in Westwood, Hillsdale and Washington Township during February. Sales totalled more than $3.6 million for the month.

A study commissioned by Hillsdale and River Vale found that a split of the Pascack Valley Regional High School District would cause large tax increases for residents of the two towns, raise the overall cost of high school education in all four towns and potentially lower the level of performance in both high schools.

Woodcliff Lake and Montvale petitoned the Executive County Superintendent last year to allow them to withdraw from the district, citing potential savings laid out in a 2009 feasibility study.

Westwood School Board Proposes $52 Million Budget

The Westwood Regional Board of Education approved a $52 million preliminary budget during their meeting last week.

The proposed budget includes a $47 million tax levy, which will shift slightly in Westwood's favor this year, though the borough will still be paying the larger portion, district Business Administrator Keith Rosado said. Westwood property owners will pay about 53 percent — down from 54 percent last year — and Washington Township property owners will pay about 46 percent of the tax levy if the budget is approved.

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