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Village of Ridgewood Has a “Don’t Eat the dirt ” Moment at Schedler

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Village Manager boastfully posted on social media, “Early 7 am joint Fields meeting with Parks & Recreation, the Ridgewood Public Schools Athletic Department and our youth sports organizations. Talking field restoration, 2024 capital projects and gearing up for the spring season – serving our nearly 3,000 youth athletes!” CORRECTION: Village Fields serve all Ridgewood residents (25k+) and non-residents alike.

The public meeting and social media post turned into a discussion on the contaminated soil at Schedler and the “resident” who questioned the soil, that ultimately lead to the NJDEP investigation and mandate against the Village of Ridgewood. During the meeting, the RBSA representative asked if the “complainant” to NJDEP could be billed for the costs of the sampling and testing. Huh?

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DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
2019, c. 397 – the “Dirty Dirt” legislation: Pursuant to concerns related to the illegal dumping of soil and fill materials statewide, on January 21, 2020, New Jersey Governor Murphy signed into law NJ Senate Bill S1683, known as the “Dirty Dirt” legislation.
This after last weeks Village Council Meeting and recent media interview, where the Village Manager inappropriately and incorrectly singled out and blamed a resident for the NJDEP mandate to further test the soil at Schedler. Astonishing coming from Keith Kazmark, a known whistleblower himself, that sued a municipality and won. Side note: the attorney that represented him is a relative and the Village of Ridgewood Planning Board Attorney.
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FUN FACTS:
  1. The Village of Ridgewood Engineer Department was responsible for the truckloads of soil dumped at a Schedler.
  2. Village of Ridgewood Parks & Recreation is responsible for maintaining and overseeing Schedler.
  3. Residents (plural) throughout Ridgewood questioned the soil movement at Schedler.
  4. Deflection is altering and sidetracking the blame and focus from oneself to others.

 

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91 thoughts on “Village of Ridgewood Has a “Don’t Eat the dirt ” Moment at Schedler

  1. Kazmark is in for a world of hurt with how he is mismanaging this mess and making it worse

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    1. He probably thought stepping into the Ridgewood arena would be a slam dunk compared to W. Paterson. Boy was he wrong. That aside, he makes a ton of money, but we have to wonder after the debacle with demoting Heather (former Mgr and clerk) and having to pay her 2 salaries, then hiring Keith who moves around quite a bit, what’s next?

  2. Millions spent on a house that has no use, all because someone thought the money was free.

    1. Siobahn Whinograd will save the day! She will run around the village asking everyone if they are intersted in renting it out. She is responsible for suggesting the idea to the Newcomers group who, like Healthbarn, will probably get a no rent/low rent deal but throwing parties in a historic house doesn’t sound kosher to me.

  3. The December 11, 2024 letter from NJDEP to Village of Ridgewood clearly states that “contaminated soil” obtained from these three (3) locations was dumped at Schedler:

    Bergen Community College
    Route 208 and De Beor Drive, Glen Rock (Ridgewood Water – water main replacement project)
    Ridgewood Water – storage soil pile

    1. More Ridgewood water PFAS contamination or worse?

    2. The letter lists six (6) sources of the dirt, sources include:

      1) 152 S. Broad St. (former Brogan Cadillac site): 8,000 cubic yards “used as the bulk of the material for the berm construction” from “a site that underwent remediation.” Testing of 14 samples was done in 2018 by Peak Environmentals. The DEP said 20 samples would be more appropriate, plus testing of more than four or five samples for various contaminants, or an explanation of why the tests were reduced.

      2) Bergen Community College: 500 cubic yards for use at the Schedler site. The fill was tested in 2019 by ANS Consultants. The letter said the Schedler site “was not undergoing a remediation approved by a Licensed Site Remediation Professional” at the time, and that “no information has been presented to justify bringing in contaminated fill to a site that may have been uncontaminated prior to the importation of the subject fill materials.”

      3) 533 Wyndmere Ave.: 320 cubic yards from a residential home addition, used as “grading fill for the Schedler project.” Testing was done by ANS Consultants in May 2021. The DEP is seeking a Non-Conformance Summary or lab report to verify testing integrity and a description of the area where soils were distributed.

      4) DeBoer Avenue and Route 208 water main installation: 200 cubic yards. Testing was done by Aqua Pro-Tech Laboratories at an unspecified date. “There was no evaluation of the appropriateness of bringing in contaminated fill to the 4560 W. Saddle River Road site,” the DEP said. The location where the fill was distributed is also questioned.

      5) Jefferson Street, William Street and Salem Lane water main replacement: 1,700 cubic yards. One sample from each street was tested by Aqua Pro-tech Laboratories in September 2020. The DEP is asking for a Non-Conformance Summary to document the integrity of the analytical results.

      6) Ridgewood Water Company Spoil Pile: 300 cubic yards from water main break repairs was initially sampled by Eurofins in December 2016 and resampled in January 2021 by SGS North America. The letter questions elevated test results from both samples.

      1. Does the EPA need to get involved in this mess? Toxic soil and air quality??? cutting down trees on the entire property to construct a giant athletic fields for the kiddies to play right on the State Highway Rt. 17? The air quality is probably the equivalent of smoking when all is said and done. I wouldn’t want my kids to play over there, not safe!

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        1. Cutting down trees is what will make it a field.

          Your comment on air quality is just made up. It makes you look silly. I am being kind

          There are about 10 rabid anti field people in Ridgewood. They are vocal and make unfounded stupid statements. Calling the field a “stadium” and questioning where people who will be using it are coming from. The field will be an improvement to the neighborhood.

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          1. Actually the comment on air quality makes perfect logical sense except to you! You come off a little bitter. Therapy can help.

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          2. The Village residents who represent some of the sports groups actually were the ones who referred to the larger propsed field as a sports complex. Little kids dressed in their uniforms called it a sports complex, but I do not believe any resident ever called it a stadium, it was actually the mayor who said that Ridgewood village did not have the grounds crew like Yankee stadium to maintain the property.

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          3. Wow, dude (or dudette) you have some serious issues and sound very angry, through your keyboard. you are the one that looks silly.

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          4. where are they coming from?

          5. Thank you so much for making your version of a kind comment. maybe you could use your power for good and do some research so you are actually informed. Labeling people as “rabid” must be your ugly side showing.

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          6. “Cutting down trees is what will make it a field”. Did you major in rocket science?

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          7. Anonymous- How do you see the field as beng an improvement s we have the look of a country lane now with all the trees but remove them and the field will NOT improve them neighborhood….Field with artifical turf next to the highway- run ND BREATHE IN FUMES – RAIN WATER IS SUJRE TO POOL THERE AS IT IS NOT FLAT JUST A NOTHER ridgewood turf field that gets flooded….No Trees No Grass wtaer pools and bacteria forms

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            1. Yes, exactly. There is no way that this ridiculous sports field is good for this neighborhood except in the minds of the delusional Mayor and majority council, and VM.

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        2. Yes! air quality is already compromised. Neighbors with health conditions or asthma are already feeling the impact from the 3 and a half acres taken down. Imagine what those poor kids and anyone playing on the field will be subjected to. This municipality doesn’t take health concerns into account. It is gross negligence if you ask me.

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      2. Those are the ones they know of. Lots of illegal dumping was done on that property and not just o the berm. If they test the soil, it should be tested all over the property. Dumpers deposited all kinds of caustic materials from God knows where and that was not tested.

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  4. Bruce Whitaker is the Zoning Board Attorney is Keith Kazmark’s relative? I guess anything goes these days.

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    1. No. Steve Wellinghorst, the Planning Board’s attorney, is Keith’s cousin.

      1. From Google on Keith’s relative (allegedly):

        Mr. Wellinghorst was Municipal Judge for the Borough of West Paterson (2003-2008) and was a Councilman in the Village of Ridgewood from 2010 – 2013.

        1. Keith was the Mayor is West Patterson, no?

    2. Village of Ridgewood Planning Board Attorney, not Zoning Board.

  5. Shame on you, Keith Kazmark. Deflecting isn’t going to make the DEP or your contaminated soil go away. Yes, it’s your problem now.

  6. Mr. Kazmark mentioned at the Village council meeting last week over zoom that there was a resident who was the whistleblower regarding the soil and NJDEP, then the local news article came out saying it was a resident. All roads lead back to Mr. Kazmark calling that person out in public. This seems like an violation of professional conduct. then according to the above article, sounds like it was a topic of conversation at a sports meeting.

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    1. 100% true fun fact!

    2. KK is a whistleblower hisself…

  7. Aside from investigating the soil, is there going to be an investigation of the Village Engineer who was ultimately responsible for this?

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    1. The village engineer is likely not at fault because he alone cannot control all of the illegal dumping that was done. The police might have been aware that people were dumping there at night but not sure if they were able to narrow down who was doing it. This would make any illegal dumping of soil that is untested and may contain toxins very dangerous. what about those residents with the well water?

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  8. Anyone with information:
    NJ Attorney General- Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) has a statewide Corruption Tipline: 1-844-OPIA-TIP (1-844-674-2847) and all information received through the Tipline can remain confidential.

    1. Ridgewood has a good deall more to deal with than just toxic soil. But this is a good place to start.

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    2. Keith is friends with Taesha Way who is on the NJDEP email. I agree and definitely think it is time for the attorney general to be notified as well as Ridgewood will probably try to talk their way out of this mess that they created. They will try to sweep this dirty dirt under the rug.

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    1. Figures.

    2. Well, well, well. Mr. Loudmouth himself.

    3. All good questions though, thanks RH. Did he ever get the answers he wanted to further explore?

      1. Any agreement between the Village of Ridgewood and the developers concerning the soil.
      2. Did the Village pay for the soil or for transporting it from the CBD to the Schedler property?
      3. Was the soil tested for contaminants and by whom? If the soil was tested, can I see the test results?
      4. After the soil was moved to the Schedler property it was then used to build the berm. Who built the berm, and what did it cost?
      5. A few weeks before the NOV 2022 election, the berm was mowed and covered with wood chips. Who did that and how much did it cost?
      6. A split rail fence was built along the foot of the berm. Who installed that and what did it cost?

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      1. Residents should demand a full accounting of how much was spent to build the berm, put the water connection in, cut down the trees and anything else that was done to build the field. Dirt was free, but everything else needed to be paid for including a new soil test for almost $40 thousand and possibly more if it is “dirty dirt”.

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  9. Whats a little contaminated soil when the council wants to put a plastic rug down on the property with known chemicals? Also, is the house hooked up to Ridgewood water with that special blend of PFAS?

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    1. “There is no immediate safety threat to the residents, or they would have ordered the property closed,” Kazmark said Thursday.

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      1. They should have ordered it closed. dirt it is filled with rusty pipes, concrete and is dangerous. someone can be hurt aside from toxic dirt. who is responsible if people are walking around on village land?

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      2. How does the NJDEP know, because you say so? There was illegal dumping, Keith. Soil that was tested was from known sources, it is all of the unknown sources that occured in the wee hours that people should be concerned about.

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    2. Interesting to note from the article, that his relative, Steve Wellinghorst, Ridgewood’s plannng board attorney, represented Mr. Kazmark throughout this whistleblower case in West patterson. Now we have the pleasure of having him in Ridgewood.

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  10. Elmwood Park settles with former clerk, Keith Kazmark, over whistleblower lawsuit.

    Councilman Daniel Golabek said the settlement was a business decision. “The fact that we went from a several-million-dollar demand to a $35,000 settlement tells you all you need to know about the case.”

    https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/bergen/elmwood-park/2021/06/19/elmwood-park-nj-settles-former-clerk-over-whistleblower-lawsuit/7746451002/

    1. The whistleblower owes the resident a formal apology.

    2. RW had zero enforcement or accountability internally. Now we expect a whistle blower to save the day. Oh boy, can’t wait for the elections and changing of the guard.

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    3. so he only got #35 k instead of millions. Too bad. But at least he got free legal representation from his relative and now he is making bank in our very own village.

  11. crazy how the RBSA leadership is more focused obn turf field kick backs than the health of chiklldern in Ridgewood

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    1. Not surprising at all. It is a money making machine (allegedly). while vag is busy loaning his friends Richard Brooks and Gail Price a $47,000.00 mortgage loan (allegedy), the other bad actors are wheeling and dealing over turf (allegedly). Fun fact, follow the money.

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      1. And collecting millions from feed the frontlines through healthbarn. Let’s not forget that. Where did all that money go?

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      2. How can Brooks be in charge of Parks and Rec if he is taking money from the Mayor? does not seem ethical.

  12. Interesting that tapinto chose to omit this story. Seems like PeeWee probably told the reporter to selectively leave it out. Cherry picking is alive and well in Ridgewood.

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    1. It isnt really a go-to news outlet plus they are team Pee Wee so it is doubtful real news is to be published without favoritism attached. The owner was PeeWee’s campaign person (allegedly).

      1. Not allegedly, he most certainly was. It’s really easy to search the blog for that info.

  13. Hopefully they will do their homework before they raze the stable At Habernickel. I believe the village themselves said there is an infestation. Along with farm vehicles that may have been stored there decades Lead paint, asbestos and who knows what else may have been dumped there over the years

    I wouldn’t let my kids use Habernickel park if the barn is razed until it’s all settled and tested

  14. FIELDS OVER RESIDENTS when it comes to Kazmark and this Village Council Majority. Flooding, “dirty dirt,” criminal historic consultant, fake employment docs intentionally misinforming State and County officials
    etc., they will stop at nothing to deliver the cash cow field at Schedler. #keithkazmark #paulvagianos #NJDEP
    #NJAttorneyGeneral #BergenCountyExecutive

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    1. You have to throw Siobahn “Head Schedler cheerleader” Whinograd and Evan Weitz in this group of bad actors all allegedly in deep with the sports organizations. This was PeeWees plan all along, to get them on the council so they can all vote together. all complicit in this scheme. That isn’t a fun fact it is true dat.

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  15. Since VOR has to study the soil, what about conducting the other studies promised: environmental, traffic, safety, pollution, noise?

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    1. exactly, we should be developing a culture of safety but no, it is only always about the FIELDS!

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  16. Shame on you, Keith. Blame a resident? Do your job and hold the Village Staff (that reports to you) accountable.

  17. The Village of Ridgewood has gone from “Please don’t eat the daisy’s” to “Please don’t eat the dirt”

  18. Dear Whistleblower, Keith Kazmark, here’s a good tip.
    Public Administration for Dummies- Public administration is a field in which leaders serve COMMUNITIES to advance the common good and effect positive change, not just one special interest group.

  19. Does the village really need more athletic fields? The various sports, athletic organizations, GQ Public can utilize the many fields at the current parks and schools. I am sure that these present facilities are sufficient to fill the needs. If the fields at the Shedler property contain yards and yards of contaminant soil maybe those areas should just be left along and evert back to nature. Why spend millions of tax payers hard earned money remediating the soli and just leave it be.? This whole situation gets more and more muddied with participants being related, personal objectives, and more while all the time the republic’s wants and needs go by the wayside. Leave the property along and some time down the road in the future some developer might want to buy it and turn it into what ever the zoning allows. Leave itbee as we all need less carbon in the air and by doing nothing Ridgewood’s carbon foot print gets a boost.

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    1. Larry, can’t agree with you more. Village of Ridgewood and this Village Manager are tits deep in dirty dirt and need to leave things alone before it turns into quicksand.

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  20. If the Schedler team uncovered this, you can bet this is a small fraction of all they dug up. Keith is going to learn.

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    1. I have so much admiration for these neighbors. They are resourceful, smart and dedicated AF!

  21. When the DEP does their inspection, let’s see how far deep bacon went to that burn. If they go a few feet, they’ll be OK you need to get to the core of that berm then we’ll see. That Berms 1100 feet, they can’t just do a few samples to determine does anything in the dirt. You can have 1000 feet of clean dirt and 100 feet of contaminated dirt you don’t know.. time will tell

  22. They’re coming for you Habernickel next with more dirty tricks beyond the private business with night time parties , open 6 days a week. Camps, busses major use of tax payers money All that came over night just like the toxic soil. Now they hold parks and rec meetings secretly there. What’s the connection between the town, the business owner, feed the frontlines and where did all the millions go and why does the business owner want the stable gone so badly that a private/secret meeting was held there and cops and ambulance had to show up? All while the director of parks and rec did their bidding to knock the stable down

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    1. An audit should be performed to review the books for Healthbarn. One entity is a non profit, but wait there’s more. The other one, the one that they use to MAKE MONEY is also running full steam ahead. All for a sweetheart deal with a low rent. If they are making bank, why is the rent not to scale. Also, what kind of oversight is there on Healthbarn’s activities. They have designated hours that they work outside of.
      Is this legl? Inquiring minds want to know, along with most of Ridgewood’s tax payers.

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  23. What is the total amount of yardage of dirt at that location it took to build that berm.
    And if the village was told to remove it. How much would that cost?
    And we wonder how much would it cost to build a wall like they did at other locations on route 17 N., I know locations they built walls with hardwood, concrete, I know there’s so many different kind of materials to use.

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  24. I would think the villages in some pickle right now, there’s a lot of dirty business going on. I wouldn’t trust anyone from the sports group, parks, and recreation department, management, they’re all full of shit. They’re all sleeping in the same bed. We will hope for the real inspection of this dirt burn . if it is contaminated, well, then the village will remove it and build something else to make it safe. You know these dirty decisions did just start with this administration. This is been going on for a long time. Some people love to say oh it’s the new mayor and council, this nonsense has been going on for a long time and the only way to address these issues is to clean house. But they won’t do that because then they are admitting their guilt, they’re open up to a lawsuits they know it.

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    1. My 2 cents is that maybe some were way too trusting of the engineering dept and didn’t look into it too deeply. PeeWee.aka Mayor Vagianos snuck in the shady consultant at the end of 2023 and told sports crowd there was a new sheriff in town. Chris R submitted the wrong plans during the pandemic to the state when he thought no one was looking. Frgoot to tell them he was constructing a berm made up of “free” dirt and new plan, not reviewed, included pickelball courts and a gazebo. Engineering sidekick Jovan Mehandzic h’s family’s company trucked in dirt too and he wanted to knock the historic house down and put up a sports shed LOL. They get an “A” for effort and a F minus for your absolute stupidity breaking rules and treating a historic property with such disrespect.

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      1. “Engineering sidekick Jovan Mehandzic h’s family’s company trucked in dirt too”

        What is the name of that company?

    2. I really hope they get sued, they deserve it.

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    3. P&R chair takes money from mayor to pay mortgage. everyone seems to be somehow connected to Healthbarn, maybe there are possible turf kickbacks and the list goes on. It is a real life breaking bad.

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  25. Here is an idea that is going to save the day. The mayor and the other council boobs, Weitz, Whino, and Keith, should truck on over to the old Stop &Shop in Paramus, and buy up that lot, it is huge and right on Route 17 south. They could make it into a huge sports complex of their dreams and only minutes from the lovely village of Ridgewood. Heck you could even go for an overpriced gyro right in the CBD after the games cuz its a hop, skip and a jump over to Ridgewood Ave. would probably only take a year and they could probably have 3 giant fields on that lot.

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    1. The village can buy it with their ROSI war chest and have the sports organizations like RBSA and others fund it to build the fields. This is exciting and I already see it taking shape in my mind. Anything is possible if you put your head in the game (pun intended).

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  26. Is anyone watching the shitshow that our VC meetings have become? If so, you might be wondering what is truly going on with your tax dollars. At least you can watch via the comfort of your home thanks to zoom. Tonight’s episode features a private citizen pointing out, that if he had not flagged the approval of monies in the 2024 budget (April 2024) that the village woulld have missed the deadline for the NJDEP soil testing mandate. Furthermore, this private citizen also took the initiative to obtain documentation from Ridgewood’s police force that highlighted the much talked about illegal soil dumping (at night). Keith Kazmark, having heard that there was illegal dumping, was right behind this private citizen and planned to get these very same reports. Will these be disclosed to the NJDEP, and what will be the targeted testing area-not just the berm the resident cautioned, as soil was dumped all over that property.

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    1. What is Keith Kazmark going to do to the internal staff who knew and did nothing about the illegal dumping?

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  27. Well, back to the drawing board, we think that the mayor council should put a bid out to see how much it would cost to remove the dirt. And a bid to construct a some sort of wall, utilizing different materials, hardwood, concrete, just like north on route 17, just to see. Well, we guess another big mess the villages inn. One thing after another, well, another story for the news channels. Supposedly they’re sick of coming to Ridgewood. I think it’s time to call the reporter at weirdnewjersey.com. don’t worry Ridgewood we have a AAA bond rating so that means we can borrow a lot of money.

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    1. It is definitely time to call the news outlets. everyone in NJ should know what a horrible mess Paul Vagianos and his crew Siobahn Whino, Evan Weitz and Pam Perron have created. So sad and what a waste of resources and tax dollars.

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  28. Does SHPO know.

    1. Yes they certainly do.

  29. I never understood why Susan rushed to cut all those trees at Schedler and then build the famous berm when the project had not been scheduled to start yet. I guess Downes needed some business and couldn’t wait. That place should have stayed in original state until any project was ready to start with signed papers and contracts.

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    1. I wonder if she actually knew. Seems like Paul and Chris were scheming. they did not get permission from SHSPO to level the huge area of trees, to put the water system in and to construct the berm. No permission. Did it on the down low all the while Paul Vagianos had the shady consultant come in to meet with Heather and the engineers. Engineering also submitted a revised plan with pickleball courts and gazebos which were not agreed to in the resolution that was voted on by that council. There should be an investigation (opra or otherwise) as to who authorized engineering to do this. It is time that answers are forthcoming as they are way overdue and tax payers should be informed.

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  30. The money pit. down street service is rubbing his hands together and licking his lips right now. hoping he gets the job to remove the soil. Oh yeah, this is great.

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    1. Who is that?

  31. A QUESTION: I was under the assumption that a lot more dirt was taken from under the apartment’s designated areas than just under Brogan. At the time it was being stated that the dirt from under ALL the buildings being knocked down was being offered as free fill for Schedler. If it stopped at Brogan, where did all the rest of the dirt go? Dumped at night?

    ANOTHER QUESTION: Unless the interior walls were removed from the majority of the rooms in the “so-called”–Susan’s terms–historical house, and the Newcomer’s Club has shrunk drastically through the years, there is no way any organization could fit into the Schedler house. Whomever is making these great suggestions for the use of the property has obviously never been in the house either before or after the “Reconstruction”. I admit, I have not been in “After” but I certainly was “Before”. and I watched them tear perfectly good shutters from the windows and I have often wondered whatever happened to the original windows which were carefully preserved on the upper floor, according to MS. Greene. It seems it was only Mr. Schedler who wanted new windows. Mrs. Schedler wanted them saved to be used in a future restoration.

    Now I have raised what some would call “rabble rousing questions”, I will sign my name. I lived on Queens Court through all of the above.

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    1. I believe counci person Sioban Whinograd is leading the charge to find a revenue generatiing business for the house. According to the newcomers this idea was “thrust upon them” by Siobahn but they don’t have that many members and how much can they possibly charge for bookclub meetings. according to the engineer there is no cooking in the house, only heating up food, so not sure if you can do parties and SHPO will have the final say as to what can operate there I think.

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    2. Thank you, Sandy 🙂

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