Everything you need to know about the CD-11 June 5th primary, but were afraid to ask!

The June 5th Congressional District 11 Democratic Party and Republican Party Primaries are rapidly approaching.

This congressional seat will be vacant since Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R), who has represented the district since 1994, announced on January 29, 2018, that he would not seek re-election.

Five Democrats are vying for the seat, including Mitchell Colbert, Tamara Harris, Alison Heslin, Mikie Sherill, and Mark Washburne; and five Republicans are vying for the seat, including Patrick S. Allocco, Peter DeNeufville, Antony Ghee, Martin Hewitt, and Jay Webber.

Therefore, to be an informed and educated voter, it’s important to familiarize yourself with each candidate’s qualifications and positions on important issues.

This can be accomplished by viewing either the CD 11 Democratic Primary Debate, which was hosted by the College Democrats of New Jersey or the Republican Primary Debate, which was hosted by the Morris County Young Republicans.

For additional information voters should review each candidates’ web site.

Here are the links for the Democratic Party candidates: Mitchell Colbert, Tamara Harris, Alison Heslin, Mikie Sherill, and Mark Washburne; and here are the links for the Republican Party candidates: Patrick S. Allocco, Peter DeNeufville, Antony Ghee, Martin Hewitt, and Jay Webber.

Finally, in order to vote in the June 5th Primary you must be a registered voter, which you can verify here and since New Jersey’s primaries are “closed,” you must have declared an affiliation as either a Democrat or Republican.

If you meet both of these criteria all you need to do on Tuesday, June 5th is to show up at your voting place and vote.

However, if you aren’t affiliated with a political party, you can still show up at your polling place on Primary Day and ask for a ballot for the party whose primary you want to vote in. You will automatically be affiliated with that party until you change your affiliation, anytime after the primary.

So mark your calendar and be sure to cast your vote on Primary Day, Tuesday, June 5th.

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Art in Bloom 2018 – You’re Invited

A group of Little Falls residents, the Little Falls Buds, is participating in the Montclair Art Museum’s 2018 Art in Bloom, a biennial celebration featuring floral designs inspired by the Museum’s permanent collection and special exhibitions.

The Little Falls group was assigned an art work by Mickalen Thomas entitled “Untitled # 8, 2014” – This piece is part of a series Tête de Femme (Head of a Woman).

(Photo of Assigned Art Work*)

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The museum’s label description notes that “This work depicts a female face, fragmented in the cubist style, and rendered in materials ranging from thick impasto paint to rhinestones and screen printed swaths of geometric pattern……with references to race, gender, identity and the history of painting, particularly the roots of modernism in the early-twentieth century….inspired by diverse sources—including Picasso’s portraits of women, Matisse’s cut-outs…”

In viewing the assigned art work it became apparent to the Little Falls Buds that Thomas’ art work shattered traditional feminine-beauty portraiture and her use of household materials inspired the Little Falls Buds to mirror “Untitled #8” in nature.

(Photo of the Group’s Floral Design*)

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The group used wood and stone as the foundation for the floral design arrangement. Thomas’ use of geometric shapes and color blocks informed the group’s selection of flowers along with added machine made materials reflective of the shapes and textures.

The language of flowers added a dimension to the group’s floral selections. For instance, gladiolus, due to its shape, is named after the Latin word for sword, giving the flower the meaning of strength and integrity; and pink anthurium symbolize compassion, femininity and maternal love.

So you’re invited to come and experience this colorful exhibition at the Montclair Art Museum, 3 South Mountain Avenue, Montclair, N.J.

Dates: May 16 – 20, 2018

Museum Hours: 12 Noon – 5:00PM

Museum Admission: $12 non-members, $10 for seniors (65+) and students with I.D. Credit cards are accepted. Museum admission is free for members and children under 12.

* Photo Credit – Karen Worster

Primary Day – Your Vote is Important

The June 5th Democratic Party and Republican Party Primaries are rapidly approaching.

Since New Jersey is a closed primary state only voters who affiliate with a political party may vote in that party’s candidate selection process (i.e., the primary election).

While the May 15th deadline to become a registered voter for the upcoming primary has passed, it’s not too late to declare a party affiliation.

If you are a registered voter, currently not affiliated with a political party, you may declare a party affiliation up to and including Primary Election Day on June 5th.

This can be done by either completing the Political Party Affiliation Declaration Form available here and mailing or delivering it to the Commission of Registration in your county or by declaring a party affiliation on primary day at your polling place.

It is important to note, that while you may have missed the opportunity to register to vote in the June 5th Primaries, according to N.J.S.A. 19:31-6, you can register, until October 16th, to vote in the November 5th General Election.

So let your voice be heard and exercise your right to vote!

Go Take A Hike

With the arrival of Spring it’s time to take a hike right here in Little Falls.

There are several routes to take:

1) The Morris Canal Greenway offers walkways and bikeways within the township including the Little Falls Morris Canal Preserve which features a paved path that traverses the edge between the developed landscape of Little Falls and the Passaic River; as well as a trail that starts in Memorial Park and extends to the Peckman River paralleling Cedar Grove Road, There are plans to construct a pedestrian foot bridge over the Peckman River which will extend the trail along the path of the former Morris Canal into Woodland Park and beyond; and

2) The West Essex Trail is a bike/walk trail that follows the former rail bed of the Caldwell Branch on the old Erie-Lackawanna Railroad from Little Falls to Caldwell. The scenic trail crosses rail trestles over the Peckman River and Pompton Avenue and can then be followed to the Hilltop Reservation.

So “happy trails to you.”

Art to the Rescue (2)

On Saturday April 28th the Passaic County Department of Cultural Historic Affairs and the Township of Little Falls sponsored the first annual Little Falls Art Walk. During the event, art was displayed in storefronts of local businesses and restaurants throughout the Town Center.

In addition, in the Civic Center the Little Falls Historical Society had historical memorabilia on display and the Little Falls Public Library hosted a reception at the end of the day’s events.

The vision of beautifying the Township through the placement of works of art in storefront windows and the creation of murals on building facades was the subject of a Gadfly blog entitled “Art to the Rescue” which was posted on December 2, 2010.

However, at that time the concept of using art to enhance the township, as expressed in the Blog, fell on the deaf ears of the Mayor and Council members.

The text of the blog, reprinted below (*), is still relevant today.

Perhaps now is the time for our elected officials and business owners to generate artistic initiatives to foster a Town Center with an inviting and aesthetically pleasing visual environment.

Looking to the future, this year’s Art Walk could be the first step in actualizing the artistic concept originally generated in the 2010 Blog “Art to the Rescue.”

Carpe Diem!

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(*) Blog “At to the Rescue” (12/2/10)

Since the beginning of the recession there have been a growing number of vacant stores throughout Little Falls, leaving unoccupied retail locations including the area around Main Street and Paterson Avenue, as well as sections of Pompton Avenue.

In order to combat the appearance created by the empty store fronts and darken windows, several New Jersey municipalities are fighting the blighted appearance with art. The initiative places works of art in empty store windows to enhance the appearance of the business area. This creates the image that the community is interested in working to improve the business environment.

An example of what can be done is a collaboration between Montclair State University and Montclair. Through this initiative, students and faculty from the Montclair State University’s Department of Art and Design, with the cooperation and support of several local businesses and individuals, created and recently installed an outdoor 8-foot-by-35-foot mural.

One can only ponder why Little Falls hasn’t considered a similar collaboration with Montclair State University. As the effects of the current recession linger it is time for the Township to explore the possibilities of beautifying the business area through the placement of works of art in storefront windows and the creation of murals on building facades.

Blog: Student Activism, Then and Now

Mike Kelly’s article “Former WPU professor was the face of the 1968 Columbia University uprising” (4/28) was a nostalgia journey back to another era. The portrait of David Shapiro, then and now, as backdrop to events that occurred 50 years ago on college campuses put a face on the student movement of the 1960’s.

Furthermore, the article highlighted how college student activists brought to the nation’s attention the role of the academic community within the military-industrial complex. All of which ultimately played a role in President Nixon’s decision to end the Viet Nam War in 1973.

One can only wonder if there are parallels with respect to the current student movement. in the aftermath of the school shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Will this student movement awaken the consciousness of the nation and bring about rational, life saving. gun reforms?

For in the words of Alfie Kohn “Children, after all, are not just adults-in-the-making. They are people whose current needs and rights and experiences must be taken seriously.”

(Note: This blog was published in The Record as a letter to the editor “Of student movements, then and now”)

In Memory of Clifford Swisher – August 21, 1924 – April 1, 2018

Clifford Swisher August 21, 1924 – April 1, 2018 (*)

Little Falls Historian, Clifford Swisher passed away on Easter Sunday, April 1st, 2018. He left behind a tremendous legacy for future generations of Little Falls residents. As the Township Historian, Cliff was responsible for collecting, preserving, documenting and teaching the history of the great town of Little Falls. This was a job that Swisher took very seriously, he loved it and he was great at it. Many residents recall fondly his presentations and talks about various topics pertaining to the history of Little Falls. He spoke often about life in Little Falls in his younger days, especially time spent at his father’s business- Swisher’s Pharmacy, which was located at 94 Main Street.

In 2000, Swisher asked his friend and Passaic Valley classmate, John Soldoveri, if he would sponsor the Little Falls His- torical Society Newsletters. Soldoveri, the owner of Great Falls Bank, agreed to the sponsorship and Swisher wrote quarterly newsletters from 2000 to 2011. Cliff was a great story teller and loved to teach the History of Little Falls to the 5th grade, which he did every year. Cliff’s newsletters, slide presentations and documentation of the History of Little Falls are lasting tributes to his memory.

Clifford Swisher was born in Flushing, New York and moved to the Village of Little Falls when he was a child. Swisher, a U.S. Navy veteran, served during World War II from 1942 to 1947. While serving, he worked on the USS Hildalgo, a Navy supply ship where he maintained projectors and other supplies. Using his work experience from his time in the Navy, he became the director of audio-visual education for the Clifton Board of Education where he worked for 35 years.

Mr. Swisher was predeceased by his wife, Shirley Swisher, whom he was married to for 65 years. Together they raised nine children.

Mr. Swisher wrote the Alma Mater for Passaic Valley High School in 1942. He recently told the story of how he came to write the song.

“One of my proudest accomplishments came many years ago when I broke my wrist. The Doctor suggested that I exercise my fingers, so I learned to play the piano. As a result, I ended up writing the Passaic Valley High School alma mater which continues to be sung to this day.” – Clifford Swisher

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(*) This article appeared in the April 2018 issue of “Historical Little Falls” – the newsletter of The Little Falls Historical Society. If you would like to receive a copy of the entire April 2018 newsletter send a self addressed stamped # 10 business size envelope to: The Little Falls Historical Society, P.O. Box 1083, Little Falls, NJ 07424.