Ridgewood News

Welcome to the February edition of the Mayor’s Corner – my monthly Ridgewood News column that aims to make village government more accessible, more transparent, more user-friendly.

Council agenda:

The council will meet two more times in February – Feb. 19 and 26. On this month’s agenda are the 2014 budget, smoke-free school zones, committee appointments, the police department’s organizational size/composition and a host of other important issues.

Our meetings are open to the public and carried live online and on public access television. Residents are encouraged to attend and participate.

Snow, snow and more snow:

This has been one of the whitest winters in recent memory. That makes for beautiful pictures, but it also makes for dangerous commutes, school closings and general inconveniences.

Keeping our streets cleaned — snow as well as leaves — is certainly not an exact science, and we don’t always get it right. But I can assure you that, under the leadership of John Spano, our guys have been working hard, sometimes around the clock, to plow and salt and clear the streets.

I would like to thank all of them, and I would like to thank our residents, too. Without the cooperation and patience of homeowners, our neighborhoods would be far more challenging places this winter.

Many people email me about unplowed streets and seemingly deserted leaf piles. That is a good thing. I strongly encourage it. Through your emails, we are able to identify problem areas and situations that demand immediate attention. So, please keep the emails coming — paronsohn@ridgewoodnj.net.

Fire & Ice Winter Festival:

Ridgewood came alive last Saturday night with our first-ever “Fire & Ice” Winter Festival. Bonfires. Skating. Burnt marshmallows. And so much more, including so many happy Ridgewood faces, young and old.

Taken together, “Fire & Ice” was classic Ridgewood. It was big. It was fun. It was all-inclusive. And it was made possible through a partnership between village officials, village employees and village residents – a partnership that embodied our village’s rock-solid sense of community.

To relive some of the magic, please check out the video of the event, which can be accessed on the Village of Ridgewood website, ridgewoodnj.net.

Super Bowl celebration:

Over the past two years, much was made about the Super Bowl coming to Bergen County. Big plans were conceived. Expectations were raised. According to Host Committee planners, this was going to be unlike anything North Jersey had ever experienced.

In the end, however, the large crowds never crossed the Hudson River. Many towns canceled their events. And only one team effectively showed up to play.

But seriously, true to form, Ridgewood rose to the occasion in a big way. Dubbed the “Pre-Game Celebration,” Ridgewood‘s Super Bowl activities took place in four “huddle zones” – the YMCA, the library, the old bank building and Graydon Park. The events focused on Ridgewood families with movies, games, music and a whole lot of food from local restaurants. And we were able to raise some much-needed money for the Social Service Association of Ridgewood & Vicinity as well as Family Promise of Bergen County.

Even my pingpong challenge went very well. Although a few kids put me to shame, embarrassingly so, I was able to defeat most of my adult competition, including Fire Chief Jim Van Goor and It’s Greek to Me owner Paul Vagianos.

Special thanks go to Glenn Jorgensen, who helped us to get the process moving, and Joan Groome, who took the ball and ran with it. And thanks to the team that helped to make it all happen: Nancy Bigos, Geri Dawes, Megan Fraser, Gwenn Hauck, Megan Heller, Tom Hillmann, Robin Ritter, John Saraceno, Roberta Sonenfeld, Chris Stout and Brooke Webb.

Jamboree:

It’s that time of year again – the time when over 100 RHS parents (cast and crew) take to the stage in compelling fashion.

Some of us have incredible talent. Some of us clearly don’t. And some of us don’t, but unfortunately, don’t seem to realize it. Regardless, it is a fantastic production put together for a fantastic cause – to raise scholarship money for RHS students.

There are two more opportunities to see this year’s production, “It’s a Shore Thing” – tonight and tomorrow night. To get tickets, visit rhsjamboree.org.

Art of Motion:

Congratulations on your 10th anniversary, and thank you for all you have done and all you will continue to do to provide our community with high-quality performing arts education and programs.

Metropolitan AME Zion Church:

One of my favorite things about Ridgewood is our thriving interfaith community, and one of my favorite things to do is to attend services at different houses of worship. In that context, one of my favorite places to visit is the Metropolitan AME Zion Church.

The music is high-energy. The worship is accessible and inclusive. And the people are just so wonderful. Led by the Rev. Mack Brandon, the church is one of our community’s best-kept secrets. Check it out.

Office hours:

I held my monthly office hours last weekend. However, as always, if you want to meet with me, please contact the Village Clerk’s office (201-670-5500, ext. 201) to make an appointment or just directly email me. If you’ve got an idea, question or concern, I want to know about it.

Mayor Paul Aronsohn can be reached via email at paronsohn@ridgewoodnj.net, through his Twitter account, @paularonsohn, or through the Village Clerk’s office.