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Letters to the Editor

Synopsis of a Westfield Board of Education Meeting on March 17

March 19, 2015

2015-2016 BUDGET PRESENTATION Technology Paul Pineiro, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, led the discussion regarding how technology affects our classrooms and ult...

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Today's Events

Police Blotter

In Westfield, Vehicle Reported Stolen, Drug Arrest

March 25, 2015

Mar 24, 2015 5:38 p.m. A resident in the 0-100 block of Gallowae reports an identity theft by unknown actor(s). Actor(s) fraudulently filed a tax return using the victim’s social secur...

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Columns

The Innovative Classroom

A Week in the Life of PARCC

During the month of March, Westfield High School, along with schools in 13 other states, participated in one of the most controversial educational moves to date — the implementation of of ...

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ViaNutrition

Getting Your Body in Balance for Optimum Fitness Results

What is going on? You eat pretty well, you exercise and still nothing is changing. Does this sound vaguely familiar? Well, the body is a complex machine, and the right balance of energy is neces...

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Westfield Area Y

Become a Westfield Area Y Lifeguard

The Westfield Area Y is providing teens ages 16+ and adults the opportunity to become a leader by participating in a lifeguard training program.  The Y’s comprehensive, education-cent...

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The Academic Coach

Strong Finish

All long distance runners know that a marathon doesn’t really start until the 20 mile mark. That’s the point at which the race gets really tough and many competitors “hit a wal...

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Ince Landscape Construction & Management

Did Winter Burn Compromise Your Trees and Shrubs?

Oh, winter!  It has been a long, cold winter this season, but spring is here and I am sure you are seeing the affects winter had on your trees and shrubs. As prepared as our landscape i...

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Experts of H.O.M.E.

Make your Home Spring-Ready

Here are some tips to get your home ready for Spring as we start to thaw: As the snow and ice finally melt, check along the foundations for any cracks or signs of damage. Small crac...

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In the Schools

Westfield Teacher Returns from National Ed-Tech Conference with New Instructional Strategies

Jeanine Gottko, K-5 Master Technology Teacher in the Westfield Public Schools, was among more than 9,000 educators, administrators and technologists from all 50 states and more than 40 countries...

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Employment Law

Super Lawyers Magazine Chooses Fred Shahrooz-Scampato

The firm is proud to announce that Fred Shahrooz-Scampato, Esquire, has been chosen for a second year in a row, to receive the distinguished honor of Employment Litigation: Plaintiff by Super La...

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BH Sports Training/BrawlHouse: The Water Cooler

Mobility Clinic for CrossFit Athletes

CrossFit Westfield and FLO Fitness are excited to announce a special mobility clinic on April 19th from 9:00 am to 10:30 am.  Chris Flores will spend 90 minutes going through his R.D.A. Pro...

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Weltman Home Services

Want Under The Kitchen Counter Lighting?

Call 888 WELTMAN to set up your appointment today!

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Talking About Grief

Talking about Death and Dying at Local Conversation Cafe - Sponsored by Summit Medical Group, My Gift of Grace and Atlantic Health System

Ever considered a dinner conversation about end of life but haven't been able to have it? Ever consider that this conversation could actually be fun and interesting? Then consider joining Im...

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Monday with Millicent

Let's Go Out to Eat: Water and Wine

Water & Wine in Watchung will celebrate its eleventh year of service during the month of  August, 2015. Along with La Griglia in Kenilworth, these restaurants are the pride and joy of p...

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In Westfield, Lightning Wheels Paralympic Athletes Reach for Their Goals

By JILL D'AMBROSIO

April 24, 2014 at 11:23 PM

WESTFIELD, NJ – Nine year-old Sarah Maher is a busy girl. She takes piano lessons, participates in Brownies, swims, plays baseball in the Buddy Ball league and, on Thursday nights, takes to the field at Kehler Stadium in Westfield to practice track and field events with Lightning Wheels, a paralympic sports club sponsored by Children’s Specialized Hospital.

“I like making new friends and having fun with them, and connecting as a team,” said the Franklin Elementary School third grader of Lightning Wheels.

Maher, who has spina bifida, is one of about 30 athletes between the ages of five and 22 in the club, which accepts children and young adults who have a primary diagnosis of a physical disability.

At Thursday’s practice, Maher and her mother Karen said she is trying to qualify in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m wheelchair race events so she can attend the National Junior Disability Championships to be held this July in Iowa.

She has already qualified for NJDC in several swimming events and is eager to take the bus with her teammates to the competition.

“Swimming is my favorite sport,” said Maher, who swims during the winter with Lightning Wheels at an indoor facility in Cranford.

Among the club’s goals are increasing independence and self-esteem of an athlete with a disability, improving an individual’s physical skills through instruction and varied activities and developing a peer group for the athlete and her family.

Head coach Trisha Yurochko expects the athletes to attend practice regularly and to qualify for national competition in six events.

“It’s opened up new worlds for them,” she said.

Stephen Koziel, a 17 year-old high school junior from Kearny who has spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, was focused and fast on Thursday as he zipped around the track, arms pumping, in his chair.

“My main goal is to go to the Rio Paralympics in 2016,” he said after his workout.

To do this, Koziel knows he needs to improve his times, expose himself to national coaches and get his name recognized on a wider stage.

Koziel, who also swims with Lightning Wheels and does shot put, javelin and discus, is dedicating his Eagle Scout project to raising awareness of Paralympic sports. He says the club has taught him that “if you put your mind to something, nobody can stop you from doing what you want to do.”

For nine year-old Kiko Mina of Lake Hopatcong, the best part of practice is running around the track. He loves being outside and seeing his friends.
 
"I like running. I practice a lot," said Mina, who had multiple brain surgeries as a baby to cure a seizure disorder.

His dad, Joseph, sees many benefits to Lightning Wheels.

"Aside from the social aspect of it, it gets him to burn all the energy he has," he said.

On Saturday, April 26, Lisa Natale, owner of Michele’s on Prospect, will hold a fundraiser to benefit Lightning Wheels.

With the help of a group of Maher's older sister’s classmates, Natale has organized a parents-versus-kids basketball game at 11 am at Franklin. Participants are invited to have breakfast on the house at Michele’s beginning at 10 a.m., and then are invited back for a free lunch after the game. Several Lightning Wheels members will be at the deli-cafe, near the school at 760 Prospect Street in Westfield, and donations are welcome.