Ridgewood News

By Paul Aronsohn

Welcome to the December 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

Due to the holidays, the Council will only meet once more this month – December 11.  On this month’s agenda are an American flag ordinance, labor contracts, the Schedler property, PSEG, shade tree policy and a host of other important issues.

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

Remembering Michael Feeney

Michael was an extraordinary kid, who had a real and lasting impact on me.

I remember our first meeting in his living room last spring.  I remember our conversation about the New York Giants … about being Mayor … about Hawes school … when he told me that he had “the best teachers” and that he liked “all of them.”

I remember his visit to Village Hall last summer.  I remember greeting Police Chief Michael at the front door … escorting him up to the Council chamber … and administering his oath of office.

And I remember his visit to Village Hall just weeks ago.  I remember sitting down with Candidate Michael to discuss his campaign speech and his interest in becoming student body President of Hawes School.  And when he lost that election, I remember telling him … through his mother … that many people lose their early election bids, including Abraham Lincoln, Chris Christie and yes, Paul Aronsohn.

When I received word of Michael’s passing last Friday, I cried.   I cried in my kitchen, while trying to explain to my wife why I wished she had met Michael.  I cried in my car ride across town for a meeting that all of sudden seemed meaningless.

I have known many people in my 47 years. I have had the good fortune to meet world leaders and other very accomplished people.  I have had the privilege to live and work in a community like Ridgewood – a community that is home to some extraordinary people.

But few have affected me like Michael.

His big smile.  His big spirit.  His big sense of the possible.  My little friend embodied bigness in such a uniquely wonderful, life-affirming way.   And through his example … through his strength, his courage and his big spirit … he made me a better person, us better people, Ridgewood a better place.

I am going to miss Michael.  We’re all going to miss Michael. And we thank his family for sharing him with us … for letting us into his precious life.

As my friend and colleague Councilwoman Gwenn Hauck so perfectly said in an email to all of us last week, “It was an honor to have met Michael and his family, and to be a small part in his big life. “

Mark Your Calendar

Christmas Tree Lighting – The Chamber of Commerce hosted “Downtown for the Holidays” will be tonight.   Entertainment begins at 5:30pm.  Tree lighting will be at 7:30pm.  This event is a must!

Poetry Event – The Ridgewood Guild will be hosting our first annual “Pop Up Poetry” Festival tomorrow afternoon (December 7) at the former Bank of America building.  With Ridgewood’s own Jim O’Rourke helping to lead the program, this should be a good time…

Winterfest — The Ridgewood Guild will be hosting the 3rd annual “Winterfest” on December 7 and 14 in Van Neste Square.  Live entertainment.  Ice sculptures.  Horse-drawn hayride.  Lot’s of fun….

Championship Football – Let’s all go to Met Life stadium tomorrow night (Saturday, December 7 at 7pm) to cheer our RHS Maroon football team.  This is big….

Newtown Remembrance – The Unitarian Society of Ridgewood will be hosting a “Community Memorial Service” to remember and honor those lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  The event will be held on Saturday, December 14 at 9:30am – the one-year anniversary of that tragedy.

Marrow Donors Wanted – There will be a Marrow Donor Registry Drive on Saturday, December 21 at Village Hall from 10am to 2pm.  This is very important.  This is being organized in support of Ridgewood’s own Anthony Daniels.

Holiday Wishes

For many of us, this is a very special time of year – one full of family gatherings, cultural events and end of year celebrations.   But for many among us, this is a very difficult time – one marred by personal loss, health challenges or economic struggle.

Let’s keep each other in our thoughts and prayers … and let’s do what we can to ensure that we all have a good start to the new year.

Office Hours

I will be holding my monthly office hours tomorrow — Saturday, December 7 from 9am to 12pm in the Village Hall Council Chamber (4th floor).  All Ridgewood residents are welcome.

Please contact the Village Clerk’s office (201.670.5500 ext. 201) to make an appointment … or just take a chance and stop on by.  If you’ve got an idea, question or concern, I want to know about it…..


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