Lakewood Briefs

Despite Scare Lakewood’s Bussing Continues

Despite a warning from the LSTA that bussing might have to be ceased until the status of its contract agreement and funding sources are clarified, transportation continued on schedule.

LSTA’s Director, Avraham Krawiec told Hamodia that he was confident that bussing would continue and that his organization would receive funding on time to continue services.

The potential crisis began last Thursday when the consortium that manages bussing for Lakewood’s private school students released a statement that if more information could not be gleaned as to how and when funding from the state would be received, that LSTA’s board felt it was irresponsible to continue operations. Thursday night, Mayor Ray Coles spoke with senior staff in Governor Phil Murphy’s office and based on his conversation, services continued uninterrupted on Friday.

Since 2016, LSTA has been funded through a pilot program that delivered funding for Lakewood’s many non-public school students to be bussed directly to the consortium. The move ended years of last-minute budget crisis’ that left the transportation for both public and private school students endangered. Its creation has also saved the school district a significant amount of expense and organizational stress as it is no longer responsible for the responsibility of transporting the town’s large non-private school student population. Most significantly, the arrangement has saved large amounts of money as LSTA has been able to negotiate long-term contracts, something that the BOE as a government entity was precluded from doing.

The plan expired at the end of last school year, leaving activists searching for a way to allow LSTA to continue operations. Funding from the state was approved as part of a loan to the district and a contract between LSTA was drawn up by the BOE.

A spokesman for the state department of education told Hamodia that his offices are still reviewing the document and are doing their utmost to see that busses will keep rolling.

“The Department of Education received a draft of the contract on Thursday. We are reviewing the draft as we await the school board to take action on the contract,” said Michael Yaple. “The Department is doing everything possible to ensure there is no disruption of transportation services to the students in Lakewood.”

Greenwald Caterers Destroyed in Fire

A fire destroyed the headquarters of Greenwald Caterers this Sunday evening. There were no injuries, but several neighboring houses on East 8th Street between Princeton Avenue and the railroad tracks were evacuated for the night.

Smoke was first reported at around 8pm and fire personnel came to the scene, yet the blaze grew progressively worse and between 8:30 and 9pm progressively more firetrucks were called to assist. Throughout the evening, residents in central Lakewood could distinctly smell and see remnants of smoke for several miles around.

Electricity was shut off on the block and many residents were ordered to evacuate as a safety precaution.

The fire ultimately burned the entire interior of the building and caused the roof to collapse leaving the facility completely unusable. While the location is the headquarters of the popular caterer it is not the only commissary it uses to prepare food for events.

Jackson Teen Charged in Car Swerving Incident

A teen will face charges for twice swerving a car at a pair of Orthodox men in Jackson while screaming obscenities and anti-Semitic insults.

The incident occurred on Shabbos, September 15. The two men and several other witnesses reported that a car with three passengers sped at the pair, then turned around and charged them a second time with the vehicle. Those at the scene were able to memorize the license plate and file a complaint with the police who also took reports from other witnesses. The driver was brought into custody and charged with harassment and bias intimidation. His identity has not been released due to his being a minor and the case is scheduled to be heard in family court.

Authorities continue to investigate the matter and additional charges might be brought against other passengers in the car.

Travelers on Southbound 440 Detoured as Construction Proceeds

Drivers heading south on Route 440 looking to exit to the Garden State Parkway (GSP) or Route 9 will be detoured as part of a major construction project on the roadway. The work is expected to last for the duration of the fall and will affect many travelers driving from Brooklyn and other locations in New York City who use the exit en route to Lakewood.

Drivers looking to exit onto the GSP or Route 9 at the exit in Woodbridge will be redirected to the Pfeiffer Boulevard/ Route 184 west/Route 35 south exit and turn onto King Georges Road for Route 9 southbound. From there, travelers can also enter onto the GSP. Signs have been posted that will direct drivers.

The work being done is part of a $14 million federally funded project to repair Route 440’s bridges over Route 9 and the GSP which has been ongoing since May 2017. This leg of the project will replace the several key elements of the seven-span Driscoll Bridge.

Work is scheduled to be completed by the end of the fall, but scheduling is subject to change pending weather conditions.

Updated Monday, September 23, 2019 at 11:58 am Greenwald fire