Nutley Council Honors Junior Wrestling Team and Addresses Substance Abuse

During the recent Nutley Town Council meeting, the council recognized the achievements of the Junior Raider Wrestling Team and addressed public health initiatives, including addiction recovery services and cancer awareness. The wrestling team was honored for their exceptional 11-1 league record, and the council discussed the town’s efforts to combat addiction, highlighting Black Balloon Day and programs for resilience and recovery.

The Junior Raider Wrestling Team’s recent accomplishments took center stage at the meeting, with a resolution moved to honor the team’s impressive 11-1 league record. The resolution acknowledged the dedication of the athletes and coaching staff, including Director Michael Blanchard and coaches Christian Crespo, Sario Marin, Michael Sanowski, and Dennis Tenorio, for their tireless training and guidance.

Expressions of pride and congratulations from the council were abundant. One commissioner, drawing from his college rugby experience, lauded the stamina and strength of wrestlers and challenged the team to maintain their high standards. Another commissioner, despite a cold, spoke to the skill development and friendships formed through the program. A story was shared by a commissioner about his son’s wrestling experience, which ended in success and a career in law, highlighting the discipline and friendships gained from the sport.

Mayor Scarpelli shared his admiration for wrestling, noting the discipline and teamwork it instills. He recounted witnessing high school wrestlers achieve success at state championships and expressed his hope for the Junior Raider team to achieve similar success. Following the proud display of trophies and banners by a coach from the wrestling team, the resolution was moved, seconded, and passed with unanimous support from the council.

The council then proceeded to address the serious issue of substance abuse. A proclamation for Black Balloon Day was made to commemorate those lost to substance overdoses and to encourage open discussions about drug abuse. The health department’s efforts to create a stigma-free town and establish an Addiction Resource Recovery Center were commended.

A counselor and dual licensure therapist named Vince spoke about the resources available at Nutley Health and the Northwest Essex Community Health network. He urged those in need to seek help, highlighting the absence of stigma in doing so. Commissioner Petco shared a personal narrative about the pervasiveness of drug issues and recounted the establishment of the HOPE program to support parents dealing with children’s substance abuse.

In a notable moment, the council read out the names of individuals who had succumbed to an overdose and held a moment of silence in their memory. This was followed by the symbolic release of black and white balloons, representing mourning and hope, respectively.

The meeting also touched on Colorectal Awareness Month with a proclamation stressing the importance of early screening and lifestyle factors in prevention. Danielle from Libby’s Choice spoke on the importance of screening for colorectal cancer and applauded the town’s efforts in promoting free screening events.

Administrative tasks were addressed, including the Public Works monthly progress report and a review of the bill list for various departments. Ordinance 3545 and Ordinance 3546 were introduced, related to fixing salaries for certain township officers and employees. A public hearing for Ordinance 3544 was conducted, establishing a Municipal Military Banner Program.

A resolution recognizing March 2024 as Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month was moved, with a commissioner, a survivor of the disease, urging citizens to undergo regular blood testing for early detection. Another resolution authorized the refund of $12 to Mrs. Joan Petronico for a duplicate animal license payment, and a refund of overpaid tax charges of $2,139.37 for a specified property was approved.

The council addressed infrastructure matters with a resolution to advertise for sealed bids for generators for all township buildings. The push for community recreation saw a move to apply for a grant for soccer field improvements at Monsignor Owens Park.

The council endorsed a housing resolution for the construction of a 100% affordable rental housing project consisting of 65 units by Kingland Street Associates. Outside legal counsel was hired with a contract not to exceed $30,000 for two specified attorneys.

Commissioners made announcements congratulating the Nutley Irish American Alliance for the Nutley St. Patrick’s Day Parade and commended the Columbus Day Parade committee for their fundraiser. Women’s History Month was acknowledged, with events planned throughout the month to spotlight women-owned businesses.

A commissioner updated on the Neighborhood Watch’s success in reducing crime and the use of technology like ring doorbells to aid law enforcement. The council also paused for a moment of silence in memory of former Mayor Billy Escot.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Joseph P. Scarpelli
City Council Officials:
Thomas J. Evans, John V. Kelly, Iii, Alphonse Petracco, Mauro G. Tucci

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