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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

NJ Perfect Home, Your Real Estate Source

Spring 2015 Real Estate Market Update

Although temperatures outside might not be exhibiting warmth, spring is here, and the real estate market is heating up! If you’re thinking about selling your home, now is a great time to a...

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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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In the Schools

Pi Day a Real Treat at Westfield Elementary School

A variety of pies were served by parents to third, fourth and fifth graders at Franklin Elementary School on March 13.  The occasion was national Pi Day, and besides a slice of pie, student...

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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

Members of Westfield Area Y Flyers Win a National Championship and a Silver Medal at Indoor Track Championships

Three athletes from the Westfield Area Y Flyers Track Club recently competed in the AAU and USATF Track and Field National Indoor Championships. Benjamin Spergel competed in the AAU National...

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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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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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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

Easter Sunday Dining Options

Perhaps you’re looking for a place to dine on Easter Sunday or any other Day? Enclosed is a group of restaurants for your dining pleasure. Do let me know if you’ve enjoyed your e...

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Westfield's Mayoral Candidates Face Off at Forum

By JACKIE LIEBERMAN

October 24, 2013 at 11:27 PM

WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield candidates for mayor and ward council seats sounded off Thursday night at a forum sponsored by The Westfield Leader in conjunction with TV36. Lauren Barr of The Leader moderated.

The event culminated in a debate between the mayoral candidates; Republican Mayor Andy Skibitsky, who is running for a third term, and current Councilman Dave Haas, a Democrat.

Candidates were asked about the increase in tax appeals—Haas said he would like to ask the county to do a tax evaluation of homes in all of the towns, so that Westfield’s taxes were not increased unfairly.

Asked if he thought budget hearings and other committee meetings should return to public forum, Haas answered an emphatic, “Yes.” He also said that he would like liaisons to report to town committees, and publicly.

Skibitsky countered, “If you look at my record, I’m probably the most transparent mayor we’ve ever had.” He pointed out that he gives a yearly Power Point budget presentation and said that few residents come to it because “They trust us.”

Asked if he would officiate at weddings for gay couples, Skibitsky answered, “Today I performed Westfield’s first gay marriage."

Haas told the crowd he looked forward, if elected, to performing same-sex wedding ceremonies.

Both Haas and Skibitsky said they would not like to see red-light cameras installed in Westfield.

They spoke about Westfield’s preparedness for storms like Hurricane Sandy and the purchase of the mobile command center:

Asked about term limits, Haas said he favored the tradition of two terms for mayor. “We need people who bring new energy, new ideas.” He spoke about the toll that the job takes, and said that Skibitsky missed 25 percent of town council meetings this year.

Skibitsky answered, “I’m opposed to limiting their choices in any way.” He said that Haas had missed10 percent of meetings, and that he sometimes missed meetings because he was attending to town business.

On the cost of the town’s legal fees, Skibitsky said that the town pays a competitive rate. Haas countered, “We don’t know if we get a good price because we’ve never requested proposals.”

Asked if the town should fight to lower county taxes and possibly secede from Union County, Haas said that town should try to get more back from the county by applying for more grants and appoint a liaison to the county freeholder board who would report back to the council.

“I am the liaison to Union County,” said Skibitsky. He said the town’s relationship with the county has improved under his leadership and added that, since he was elected mayor, “we’ve received $3.3 million in grants.”

In his closing statement, Has said there should be a clearly stated need for any capital purchases, that he will work for a one-seat ride on the Raritan Valley train line during peak hours, that he will join Mayors Against Illegal Guns and that he will make sure that firefighters have what they need.

Haas added that he was opposed to the mid-block HAWK light and crosswalk on Central Avenue. He concluded by saying that he would change the time set aside for "residents’ comments" during town council meetings to “residents’ questions and answers.”

Skibitsky told the room, “I volunteer because I love this town.”

 “It takes a proven leader to ensure the town continues in the right direction,” said Skibitsky. He listed accomplishments since he became mayor including, recently, securing a commitment to a one-seat ride during “shoulder-peak” hours. He added that, though Haas argued with him now, his opponent had voted with him 99 percent of the time.

The entire debate will be available for viewing on TV36 and on The Westfield Leader’s website, www.goleader.com.

To learn more about the candidates, visit our Candidates Statements section by clicking here.

To read about the first ward candidate’s remarks, click here. To read about the third ward candidates' debate, click here. To read about the fourth ward candidates' debate, click here. Republican Vicki Kimmins, running unopposed for re-election in the second ward, was absent from the forum.