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file photo by Boyd Loving

Village Council Regular Public Meeting Agenda 20180912
8:00 P.M.


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Neighbors Accused on Dumping at Dunham Trail in Ridgewood


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, at Wednesday’s Village council meeting resident Ellie Gruber recited instances of what she referred to as repeated resident dumping at Dunham Trail in Ridgewood.

According to the Ridgewood Wildscape Association Dunham Trail, a 1/4 mile, peaceful walking trail alongside the Ho Ho Kus Brook, stretches between Grove Street and Spring Avenue. The trail features beautiful views of the brook, with its two small dams and sandstone wall, butterflies and many birds, especially kingfishers and woodpeckers, plus several very old sycamore trees. The wooded areas are thick with trees and bushes.

Ms.  Gruber went on to describe the poor condition of the trail due to erosion , but focused primarily  on what appeared to be neighbors dumping yard waste and landscaping debris on the trail.

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Ridgewood Wildscape Association and Volunteers Clean Up Grove Park!

Ridgewood Wildscape Association and Volunteers Clean Up Grove Park!

photo courtesy of the Ridgewood Wildscape Association

October 14,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, on October 8th the Ridgewood Wildscape Association organized its “Fall Clean-Up” at Grove Park! The group of volunteers hauled out several bags of litter!!! According to the Ridgewood Wildscape Association the majority of the litter brought into this park is through street drainage basins and carried in by storm water. Keeping our streets clean, keeps our forests and wetlands clean too! Its also a good reminder to all of us that the parks don’t clean themselves.

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October 5th Village of Ridgewood Work Session Recap

Village Council work session

photo by Boyd Loving

October 6,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ,  Ellie Gruber and Jeanne Epiphan gave a presentation on the state of Gypsy and Kings Pond. Invasive species is a huge problem as well as a dilapidated dam.  Wildscape felt at the very least a fence should be put in place that would help to mitigate the encroachment of damaging species of plants such as Japanese Knotweed.  Tim Cronin said that permits from the DEP would be necessary but the preliminary work could begin if the council agreed.  Jeff Voigt suggested including the Eagle Scouts in the project.  A scout leader was present and said that it could be done.  The council agreed to move forward on the project beginning with the fence.

Next on the agenda was a presentation by the village engineer and resident Jeanne Johnson on the availability of a grant for the purpose of pedestrian safety and alternate transit opportunities ( bikes) for municipalities.  Better stop lights, bike lanes, refuge islands etc.  Mayor Knudsen felt that she would need more information as there had been many  complaints regarding the Garber Square do to the so called improvements ie “traffic easing” and  “suicide bike lane”. The council will read the plans and come to a decision.  The grant application is due November 10th.

Parking was next on the agenda and the council continued its discussion on how best to increase parking options in the CBD for shoppers, employees and commuters.  One idea was to try a pilot program at the Chestnut Street Lot which would use a kiosk which accepts coins, credit cards and Park Mobile.  This seemed doable and the council authorized going forward with this program. Much talk over fees throughout the town at the meters and the lots . Heather will be working on the several ordinances needed to address the changes.

It was  obvious how hard the council is working to improve parking and to mindful of the cost to the village.

Deputy Mayor Mike Sedon explained changes in our tree replacement program which includes allowing the village to examine trees on private property and if a tree had a diameter larger than 6 inches, it could not be taken down unless it was deemed diseased, dead or a hazard.  Trees that are taken down would need to be replaced by the property owner or 150 dollars paid to the village for a tree planting in another location. The hope is to replenish or depleting shade tree stock with municipal funds, grants and stricter guidelines for property owners.

A thin blue line is to be painted between two yellow lines on Linwood Avenue to show support for our police force.

Village Engineer Christopher Rutishauser seemed to contract “foot in mouth disease”,when talking about the Village tree stock he used the term Ghetto Palms to describe a tree that grows in Patterson ,saying “The Paterson Palm.  A tree that grows best in ghettos.” he would like to eradicate in Ridgewood.  It was said in a somewhat derogatory manner and both Anne and Boyd spoke about this during public comment.  They were highly offended. Other felt it was a dumb and insensitive comment.

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A Sad Tale of Ridgewood’s Twinney Pound

Twinney Pond Park 2

I , Diane Palacios , am the writer of the original post. I bumped into Councilman Hache in the supermarket yesterday and he said the weed that is invading the pond is Japanese Knotweed and that it is sprayed away twice a year , in the spring and the fall.

I also sent an e-mail to Mayor Knudsen and Deputy Mayor Sedon. Whatever the reason, I am very saddened by the mess there. I have lived here since 1978, and have walked there over the years including last year.

This is the worst that I have seen it.

I purposely did not contact Councilwoman Walsh. She lives next door and she obviously sees it and doesn’t care. I fear she would give me an excuse that wouldn’t mean anything and that wouldn’t remedy the problem. People in power that don’t care about something have those sorts of excuses like Hache’s excuse. And his was the only sign I had in front of my house during the election. If it were up to me I would do whatever it takes to keep the pond in good condition. The pond should NEVER have been left to get in that deplorable condition. As far as I am concerned keeping that pond in beautiful natural condition is of prime importance, more important than overbuilding an already developed CBD.

Let’s face it very few people care a damn about the beauty and health of nature and the environment and if you do care you are called a Communist.

I miss the tadpoles too. I am very sad about this.

Wow Diane you are so wrong about Bernie Walsh. She’s been an advocate for Twinneys for years. I will call her and let her know about your complaint. And I agree the village needs to dredge it.

Hey Diane Palacios before you besmirch Council Walsh maybe you read this article from north jersey .com. Why don’t you try getting your hand dirty. No,you rather just bitch about thing

We have the Girls Scouts and so many members of Ridgewood Wildscape Association helping out. They help clean the park every year because so many kids come here and skate when it’s frozen,” said Bernadette Walsh, a Ridgewood council member, Girl Scout leader and Red Birch Court resident.

Walsh helped spearhead this year’s cleanup effort, and recruited her children and brought a few landscaping tools from her garage to help with the project.

Diane, here is a suggestion if you would like to learn more and get involved please contact Bergen SWAN (Save the Watershed Action Network). It is a wonderful non-profit organization based in the Pascack Valley area. It often runs seminars about invasive species, wildlife, etc. Lori Charkey is co-founder of the organization and extremely knowledgeable about nature and has been a pioneer in preserving what little wild space is left in Bergen County. I’m impressed that Ramon knew about Japanese Knotweed!

The cause: Twinney is also the location of a Ridgewood Water Pump and Filter Facility. The large facility is located directly behind the pond (now you know where Ridgewood Water gets “their” water). Since the facility’s construction; systematic pumping from under the kettle pond has destroyed the original ecology (no fish any longer and many new invasive plants). The facility typically runs the pond full dry several times each year. Interviews of local long time residents indicate the pond “had” a bubbling spring and a sand bottom. A local school boy from the 1800’s described it as an oasis and historically the pond served the local native population for millenia. All of that goodness is now hidden under 40 years of black silt caused by running the pond dry.

Councilwoman Bernadette Walsh lives two doors from Twinney. She has been active with Girl Scouts in an annual cleanup there. Perhaps the post writer would wish to contact her directly and ask what’s up. A cc: to the Ridgewood Wildscape Association at could be useful.

It was horrible when the town sold the land surrounding that tiny park to a developer. We’re just giving it away and we will never get it back. NO NEW HOMES. MORE NATURE.

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Ridgewood Consevancy group to continue projects

Twinney Pond Park

DECEMBER 11, 2015    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2015, 12:31 AM

Conservancy to continue work

To the Editor:

This time of year gives us a chance to reflect on the recent past. The Conservancy for Ridgewood Public Lands is extremely grateful for the community support we have received. Without this, we never would have been able to accomplish all that we have in 2015. Our tasks have been numerous, from continuing the plantings at North Broad Street, running a Second Annual Daffodil Festival in conjunction with the Ridgewood Environmental Advisory Committee, placing a large decorative planter at the train station plaza, planting 5,000 more daffodil bulbs towards our ultimate goal of one for each resident, to organizing a cleanup at Twinney Pond Park with the Ridgewood Wildscape Association.

Twinney Pond Park is a unique ecological gem, a kettle pond dating back to the ice age. Ridgewood native and Rutgers ecologist Jean Epiphan has completed a thorough report on the vegetation. It has been determined that by removing the worst of the invasives and replanting with natives in the spring, that we will be able to help preserve this extraordinary park. We are making this project an ongoing educational opportunity for our Ridgewood students. Our Dec. 6 cleanup was a huge success and brought in countless community volunteers of all ages.

Our goal is to keep working on projects throughout the village, to enhance and improve our wonderful and varied parks. As we embark on our Annual Membership Drive, we urge you to look at our website to find out more information on our projects and to sign up to help:

Our sincere thanks for your support and our best wishes for the holiday season.

Cynthia Halaby


Conservancy for Ridgewood Public Lands

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New research suggests nature walks are good for your brain


By Chris Mooney June 29 at 3:42 PM

In the past several months, a bevy of studies have added to a growing literature on the mental and physical benefits of spending time outdoors. That includes recent research showing that short micro-breaks spent looking at a nature scene have a rejuvenating effect on the brain — boosting levels of attention — and also that kids who attend schools featuring more greenery fare better on cognitive tests.

And Monday, yet another addition to the literature arrived — but this time with an added twist. It’s a cognitive neuroscience study, meaning not only that benefits from a nature experience were captured in an experiment, but also that their apparent neural signature was observed through brain scans.

The paper, by Stanford’s Gregory Bratman and several colleagues from the United States and Sweden, was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In it, 38 individuals who lived in urban areas, and who had “no history of mental disorder,” were divided into two groups — and asked to take a walk.

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The National Trail Association has named June 6 as National Trail Days; but most towns are expanding it to National Trail WEEKEND of June 6/7!

We are lucky that a member of Wildscape who is a botanist from Rutgers, Jeannie Epiphan,  will lead a walk along “mysterious” Gypsy Pond.

When?         Saturday and Sunday, June 6 and 7,

Our President, Andy Antista, will also explain the history of the area.

Gypsy Pond is one of the hidden gems in Ridgewood.

Everyone is welcome, bring the kids, bring the grandparents, bring a neighbor.  No getting muddy this time, but do bring a bag to pick up trash if you want to.

The important thing is to GET OUTSIDE.

For those who don’t know the location, there are two ways to get to Gypsy Pond:

1.  Rock Road Extension, travel towards Goffle Road, immediately before the rr tracks there is an unmarked road (of course!)…park across the street at the NJ Transit lot, there will be signs.

2.  Godwin, left at Lake, left onto Goffle, travel to Rock Road, turn left and part at the NJTransit equipment lot on the right.  There will be signs.

For more information, see our website

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Ridgewood preservation group seeks new members, fresh ideas


Ridgewood preservation group seeks new members, fresh ideas


The leadership of the Ridgewood Wildscape Association (RWA) is asking for help.

The decades-old group was revived some years ago by Andy Antista and Ellie Gruber, president and secretary of the group, respectively, and both are now looking to step down from the helm in favor of bringing in new leadership and new ideas.

In a letter that recently went out to the group’s approximately 85 members, the pair wrote, “If the RWA is to continue as the guardian of the 10 open spaces, it needs a few people to step up and take the reins of the association. The commitment of time is minimal. The rewards are tenfold.”

RWA was founded in the 1970s by a small group of residents – namely Barbara O’Brien, John Rosengren and Laura Yingling – but lost the majority of its almost 300 members and its guiding force when Rosengren died in October 1999.

Before that, the group drew many participants to activities like cleanups, walks, poetry and photo contests, and film nights. The group had a hand-drawn newsletter and pamphlet along with buttons and other promotional material.


Since its revival, Gruber and Antista have been able to plan about half a dozen big cleanups, but the other activities had low participation numbers and were eventually canceled, though Antista still leads walks now and then and does educational trips with the Scouts through many of the parks and trails.