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Fair Lawn residents wanting to beautify their street can receive a free tree this fall thanks to an ongoing tree planting program by the borough.The program, which started a few years ago, has increased in demand in recent times, said Mayor Kurt Peluso. The initiative is a combined effort from the borough&rsqu...
Fair Lawn residents wanting to beautify their street can receive a free tree this fall thanks to an ongoing tree planting program by the borough.
The program, which started a few years ago, has increased in demand in recent times, said Mayor Kurt Peluso. The initiative is a combined effort from the borough’s Green Team and Shade Tree advisory committees and the mayor and council.
“We really want a tree canopy going down every street in Fair Lawn,” Peluso said. “If you ever take a ride down Third and Fourth Street or Fair Lawn Avenue, it looks great with these older, mature trees. We’re starting the progression. It takes time for the trees to grow, but we’re really excited about adding trees to Fair Lawn.”
Peluso said the initiative was funded by a combination of borough funds and grant funding. The requested free trees are planted twice a year, during fall and spring.
The free trees can be planted in any borough right of way, the grass strip between the sidewalk and street curb. The borough is offering eight types of trees, and residents can choose what they feel would best fit their area. A Facebook post about the program does note, however, that the borough "cannot guarantee" that it can honor a request for a specific type of tree.
Peluso said the trees need minimal care after being planted, and residents can ask the Shade Tree Advisory Committee any questions they might have about the care.
Residents can request a tree by going to fairlawn.org and click on “Service Request.” After typing in your address, click “New Tree Request” on the dropdown box. Those wanting trees can also call the Department of Public Works at 201-794-5305.
The eight types of trees being offered are willow oak, swamp white oak, black gum, red maple, American hophornbeam, hedge maple, Allegheny serviceberry and Eastern redbud. Pictures of the trees can be found on the Fair Lawn official Facebook page.
Stephanie Noda is a local reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
Email: [email protected]
A former secretary at Fair Lawn Public Schools has filed a lawsuit against the district claiming the business administrator sexually harassed her in person and in hundreds of unwanted text messages.The woman, who now works for another district, alleges John Serapiglia engaged in a pattern of conduct designed to exploit the woman’s emotions and mental health, according to court papers.“This was done through a substantial number (440 pages) of text messages, telephone conversations, and in-person conversations,”...
A former secretary at Fair Lawn Public Schools has filed a lawsuit against the district claiming the business administrator sexually harassed her in person and in hundreds of unwanted text messages.
The woman, who now works for another district, alleges John Serapiglia engaged in a pattern of conduct designed to exploit the woman’s emotions and mental health, according to court papers.
“This was done through a substantial number (440 pages) of text messages, telephone conversations, and in-person conversations,” according to the lawsuit filed Sept. 29 in Superior Court of Bergen County.
Serapiglia, who is now the business administrator in Linden Public Schools in Union County, did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit. Administrators with the Fair Lawn district did not immediately respond Friday to calls and emails seeking comment.
The lawsuit alleges the secretary developed an emotional dependency on the business administrator and “was unable to recognize the manipulative nature of his conduct.”
The suit states Serapiglia showered the woman with compliments and excessive praise in an effort to groom her.
Serapiglia allegedly sent the woman texts about her “body, the clothes she was wearing, and her physique,” the suit states. The woman wearing skirts was his “kryptonite,” he allegedly texted to her.
“I will keep complimenting you until you like it,” Serapiglia allegedly texted the woman in June 2022.
On Sept. 15, 2022, the woman complained to both Nicholas Norica, Fair Lawn’s superintendent at the time, and the human resources department that she felt uncomfortable in the same building with Serapiglia.
Norcia, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, has since left Fair Lawn schools and is now superintendent of the Morris Hills Regional School District in Morris County. He did not immediately respond on Friday to a request for comment.
The suit says that “almost immediately,” Norcia began to retaliate against the woman after she made her complaint. He required her to remain at her desk at all times except for bathroom breaks or to get the mail and she was unable to speak with co-workers in person, the suit alleges.
On Oct. 3, 2022, the woman filed a sexual harassment complaint with human resources. On Oct. 21, 2022, she learned Serapiglia had filed an internal complaint against her, but the lawsuit does not specify the allegations.
The result was two simultaneous investigations — one involving the secretary, the other the business administrator.
In December, the woman received a memo from the human resources director stating there was no finding of sexual harassment because she believed the relationship between the woman and Serapiglia was consensual.
The woman says in the suit she applied for the position of payroll supervisor and was turned down.
The lawsuit says the woman gave her notice of resignation, telling Norcia she was leaving because of sexual harassment and retaliation.
Norcia allegedly told the woman, “You can tell people you are leaving, but you cannot tell them why you are leaving.”
In addition to sexual harassment and retaliation, the lawsuit alleges a hostile work environment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
An unofficial New Jersey town landmark that had been slated for implosion in a week and a half has gotten a reprieve.The Nabisco plant in Fair Lawn, which filled the air with the delectable smell of baked cookies for 60 years before it was shut down in 2...
An unofficial New Jersey town landmark that had been slated for implosion in a week and a half has gotten a reprieve.
The Nabisco plant in Fair Lawn, which filled the air with the delectable smell of baked cookies for 60 years before it was shut down in 2021, was scheduled to be imploded on Saturday, April 15. That is no longer the case, officials say.
They don't have a new date set for the implosion, either, though Fair Lawn officials indicated the change was merely a postponement. The nearly 40-acre site was expected to be razed to build a warehouse, NorthJersey.com reported.
Why the delay? It's unclear, but the mayor of Fair Lawn said that the controversy surrounding the implosion was not a factor in the decision to postpone.
According to Fair Lawn, the contractor performing the implosion said a state regulation prevents demolitions if the impact would be exacerbated by certain meteorological conditions that create "a low ceiling," like fog or cloud cover. It said it would track the weather five days in advance, flag any potential concerns and reschedule if necessary.
The owner of Greek Development, which bought the 40-acre site, said that the safety of workers and surrounding community are of utmost concern. Residents will be notified two weeks prior before the implosion is rescheduled.
All that said, Fair Lawn announced the sudden postponement on Wednesday, a full 10 days before the planned blast on April 15 at 8 a.m. blast. No other details were immediately provided.
The massive site on Route 208 has been a part of the landscape for as long as some folks can remember.
Hundreds of people working for the company were out of a job when it closed a few years back. The demolition started last fall, according to NJ.com, but this big boom was expected to be among the more disruptive components.
The tower over the factory with the giant red NABISCO letters was supposed to be part of the implosion, which drew extensive public interest for multiple reasons. Some people just wanted to watch.
Police said Thursday that won't happen, whenever a new date is set. Construction crews have been dismantling the tower for several weeks now and have made considerable progress, so much so that the mayor of Fair Lawn told NBC New York by phone that the size of the implosion could be scaled back some.
The general public is asked to avoid the area surrounding the property on the yet-to-be-determined new implosion date. Road closures will be in place that day.
In the lead-up, residents had expressed concerns about air quality and potential soil and water contamination, and one school district had planned to close the following Monday out of an abundance of caution. Several hundred people who live nearby signed a petition demanding more information about the potential health, safety and environmental impacts of the implosion.
The contractor says air monitoring is part of its protocol. It said it also follows state rules around waste removal and hazardous material and has noise and seismic monitoring in place for additional protective measures.
Fair Lawn officials say more information will be released as it becomes available.
A school district in Bergen County, N.J. is facing a lawsuit filed from a former secretary alleging she was groomed and sexually harassed by the business administrator, and then retaliated against when she filed a complaint.Wende Pettit, who served as an executive secretary for Fair L...
A school district in Bergen County, N.J. is facing a lawsuit filed from a former secretary alleging she was groomed and sexually harassed by the business administrator, and then retaliated against when she filed a complaint.
Wende Pettit, who served as an executive secretary for Fair Lawn Public Schools beginning in 2016, claims a business administrator who was hired in 2021 sexually harassed her in person and through hundreds of unwanted text messages, reports NorthJersey.com.
Her lawsuit was filed in Bergen County Superior Court on Sept. 29, and accuses John Serapiglia — now the business administrator for Linden Public Schools in Union County — of inappropriate conduct.
According to the lawsuit, Serapiglia engaged “in a persistent pattern of conduct designed to exploit [Pettit’s] emotions and feelings,” in an attempt to control and manipulate her.
Pettit claims Serapiglia became “provocative and flirtatious” over text, commented on her appearance in person and told her that he fantasized about her sexually.
The continued harassment created a hostile work environment for Petitt, who said she went ignored when she told Serapiglia she was uncomfortable with his behavior. She claims she was later told to delete their text exchanges.
“I will keep complimenting you until you like it,” Serapiglia allegedly texted her in 2022.
Pettit also claims he took advantage of her mental health history, repeatedly pulling her in and then pushing her away while claiming she had “emotional problems.”
Pettit admitted that she and Serapiglia engaged physically on two occasions with a “long embrace and kiss.” However, he soon began speaking to her negatively, telling her she was “making the relationship very intense” and that she had misread his feelings.
The suit claims that when Pettit brought a formal complaint to Nicholas Norcia, Fair Lawn’s superintendent at the time, she was retaliated against and required to stay at her desk at all times except for bathroom breaks. It was later suggested that she simply find a new job.
When Pettit eventually told Norcia she was resigning, he allegedly told her, “You can tell people you are leaving, but you cannot tell them why you are leaving.”
In addition to sexual harassment, retaliation and a hostile work environment, the lawsuit against the Fair Lawn Public School District alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress.
“Often, employees who experience sexual harassment are labeled ‘dramatic,'” Pettit’s attorney Robert Tandy said in a statement. “[This] causes further emotional problems for individual victims because it fuels one’s doubt and fears associated with coming forward to complain.”
FAIR LAWN — Monday's Planning Board meeting about the redevelopment of the Nabisco building left many significant questions unanswered as the meeting ended before residents were allowed to speak.Some Fair Lawn and Glen Rock residents called the meeting “deceptive" and said it did not focus enough on public health concerns....
FAIR LAWN — Monday's Planning Board meeting about the redevelopment of the Nabisco building left many significant questions unanswered as the meeting ended before residents were allowed to speak.
Some Fair Lawn and Glen Rock residents called the meeting “deceptive" and said it did not focus enough on public health concerns.
Although the meeting was intended to allow residents to ask questions and comment on the plan, this did not happen, causing an uproar among attendees. Greek Development’s presentations and questioning by the Planning Board ran long, occupying the allotted three hours for the meeting. The venue, the Fair Lawn Senior Center, did not allow the meeting to run past 10 p.m.
Despite this, a resident attempted to ask a question about how Greek Development would address water contamination issues, but the resident was stopped by the Planning Board. The hearing will continue Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Fair Lawn municipal building, where residents will have time to ask questions, according to the board.
The Nabisco building was originally set to be demolished by implosion using dynamite. However, due to concerns about contaminants being released into the surrounding residential areas, an alternative method of demolition will be used. It has yet to be discussed in detail.
An environmental assessment conducted by Langan Engineering and Environmental Services on behalf of Greek Development was discussed at the meeting. Residents who read the entire report, which is available online, said it was not discussed in enough detail.
Residents at the meeting were concerned about water contamination of the Westmoreland Well Field. It was determined by environmental agencies that the contamination originates from the Fair Lawn Industrial Park, where the redevelopment site is located, and is caused by chemicals, including carcinogens, from companies in the industrial park leaking into the water supply.
According to the assessment, water quality measures were not required by the state Department of Environmental Protection because the paved areas will be reduced from 14.11 acres to 11.09 acres. The assessment says there will be no adverse impact on water quality because of the reduced impervious surface area.
However, it remains unclear how Greek Development will address the existing contamination issue.
The environmental assessment also found that measures of air quality are below national ambient air quality standards. No odors are anticipated from the planned warehouse. Temporary construction impacts on air quality are anticipated, and they will be mitigated through a soil erosion and sediment control plan.
Residents who read the full assessment noted that the cited air quality monitoring stations were in Fort Lee and Jersey City, which they felt were not representative of Fair Lawn. The assessment notes that “the data collected at these monitoring stations is anticipated to be representative of the ambient air quality at the project site.”
Residents also had unanswered questions about how vehicle and truck emissions may affect the air quality. They felt it was unclear whether the assessment took these into account. The traffic impact on air quality is estimated to be less than the Nabisco factory’s, and the warehouse does not initially have to apply for a Title V air permit.
Traffic was not discussed in detail at the meeting because the Fair Lawn Planning Board is waiting for the results of an independent traffic study. However, residents expressed concerns that the company’s expectation of 386 daily truck trips is greater than the approximately 134 daily truck trips that all their other facilities see combined. Greek Development said the number of trips expected is lower than the number seen at the Nabisco site.
Residents are hoping that the Aug. 21 meeting will provide them an opportunity to discuss their biggest concerns in detail.