Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fields Committee farewell.

Went to my last 7:00 AM meeting of the Fields Committee this morning. Not going to miss the hour, but will definitely regret not being around in the future to witness this monthly example of collaboration and problem-solving. The challenges of scheduling and managing the athletic fields in the Village take a lot of effort to resolve and address efficiently. They are all definitely addressed – not always efficiently, but always with the best intentions.

Today’s meeting had two highlights for me. First, two 4th grade Girl Scouts and their moms/troop leaders came to speak to the Committee about the problem of litter in the Village, particularly on the sports fields. They are asking the sports groups to spread some ideas to coaches and to pass along to kids and other athletes the need to pick-up litter, improve trash can locations, designate team litter monitors, etc. They’ll be posting some handmade, laminated signs on sports field trashcans, too.

The other notable portion of today’s Fields meeting was a conversation with representatives of the Church League softball league. The Church League was started in approx. 1987 and is made up of 250 players on 10 teams (representing 9 churches). Approx. 85% of the players are Ridgewood residents (aka taxpayers) and they are frustrated at the year-after-year reduction in their access to softball diamonds (made considerably worse by the loss of diamonds at BF). They just want to make sure consideration is being given to their program when fields are scheduled. It was helpful for the committee to be reminded of the adult users of our sports fields – too often we think in terms of children only. The number of kids playing all sports has increased over the decades, but let’s not forget that Dads and Moms have a right to use our fields, as well. (In addition to the Church League, there are also Men’s, Mom’s and Adult Leagues playing on Ridgewood fields. These are just softball – there are also adult soccer, flag football and other programs.)

The reps from the Church League did say that they would be communicating their message to the Village Council, as well, since the Council will be determining the use to come at the Schedler property and the Habernickel Horse Farm, etc.

There were plenty of other topics discussed at today’s meeting, including: the upcoming lighting tests at RHS Stadium and Stevens Fields (tentatively scheduled, pending weather, for tomorrow night), the draft Fields Policy being voted-on by the Village Council on May 11, a potential auto-call program to alert parents about field closures, new parking regulations adjacent to Stevens Field on North Irving Street, and the structure and function of the Committee itself (vis-à-vis input by athletic field neighbors). I’m not sure who will be the BOE liaison to the Committee going forward – it will be decided after the Board’s reorganization meeting, which takes place next Monday.


Laurie said...

To Anonymous at 6:42 AM, I'm sorry but I've declined to publish your comment because I felt it was a personal attack. I don't want this to be a forum to discuss people's personalities or attributes. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Laurie, weren't the lights at Ridgewood High School already tested? I thought that was what they were doing when the lights were left burning all day and night about a month or so ago. What does this test entail?

Laurie said...

No, actually the lights have not been tested. They did need to be "burned in" (not "all night" btw) prior to testing, which was originally scheduled for March 31. That night was rainy, so the test was postponed until April 7, the next date that the lighting company's representative was available. Then on April 7 the lighting expert suffered a serious medical emergency in his family, so the test was postponed again. Between quickly changing weather, the light guy's situation, and other towns in the queue, May 5 was the first time we could get it scheduled. The weather looks good for tonight (knock wood).

Anonymous said...

Sure seemed like all night. They were on late at night when I drove by and still on when I drove my child to school the next morning.

Laurie said...

The schedule was posted in advance on the District website and indicated they would be on from 7 AM to 9 PM on the stadium field and from 7 AM to 6 PM on Stevens, from March 22 through March 30, in order to burn for the 100 hours required prior to testing. Currently the lights are being used according to the existing Village/BOE policy which allows lights until 9:00 Monday through Saturdays.

Laurie said...

Sorry -- I just realized I never answered your second question -- what does the test entail?

A grid will be laid-out over each field. The lights will be turned on and a reading taken with a light meter at each point in the grid (including around the perimeter of the fields on onto some neighbors' properties, where permission has been granted). The readings will be compared to what was specified in the design plans for the light. If the light measurements exceed what was specified, they will be adjusted into compliance.

For the readings around the perimeter and into neighboring yards, there will also be baseline readings taken to measure the amount of light present without the fields lights illuminated (ie., with existing light from street lights, porch lights, landscape lights, moonlight, etc.).