A murder in Essex Fells dominated news around Verona this past week.
Baristanet reported that 91-year-old Robert Nevius was found in his ransacked home on Thursday and police immediately treated the case as a homicide. On Friday, a 28-year-old East Orange man who had worked for Nevius and his wife as a chauffeur was arrested on charges of murder.
Planned cuts to library budgets brought out protesters in neighboring towns. Dozens of Cedar Grove residents showed up at a town council meeting there on Monday to protest plans to close Cedar Grove library for the rest of the year. According to the Star Ledger, the council is mulling the closure so that it can channel funds earmarked to run the library into closing a $600,000 gap in the town’s budget. Cedar Grove’s alternate plans are to lay off seven municipal employees, or get town workers to pony up 25% of their health insurance costs. Baristanet, meanwhile, reported that libraries in Bloomfield and Glen Ridge have joined a statewide protest against library budget cuts.
With school budgets coming up for a vote, there was more tension over planned cuts. Glen Ridge parents were circulating a petition that asks its school board to freeze teacher salaries there. The board’s current plan gives Glen Ridge teachers a 2% raise while cutting 18 jobs and leaving residents in the already highly taxed town with an $800,000 property tax increase.
But 18 jobs cuts would be a relief in East Orange, where the city’s board of education may have to slash 280 jobs to make up for a $10 million cut in state aid.
New Jersey Transit also seems headed in the wrong direction. Though protesting commuters turned out in force, the agency’s board approved a 25% increase on interstate bus and train fares. While local bus fares were to have face the same hike, NJ Transit held that increase to 10% but also cut 32 trains. The new fares take effect May 1.
And finally, on a brighter note, Essex County officials planted 110 trees in Bloomfield on Thursday. The plantings, which included native species like ginko and redbud, came free of charge thanks to the New Jersey Tree Foundation.