Maplewood Millburn South Orange

Top 15 Village Green Stories of 2017 — Paul Ryan Photo Op, Special Dance, CHS Walk Out, Flash Mob and More

The year in news in Maplewood and South Orange could not escape national events. Many of our top stories are byproducts of the national political scene, including the South Orange Middle School/Paul Ryan photo op and residual fallout, the Columbia High School Inauguration Day walkout, and the controversial “Conservatives in SOMA” story.

But then others are deeply, personally MapSO only.

The year was so chock-a-block full of breaking, viral news stories that some major stories — such as the slave auction poster and mock slave auction, several swastika graffiti incidents, a widely read story on new retail in South Orange Village Center, a triple homicide in Maplewood, the 38 buses taking local residents to the Women’s March in Washington DC, and the 6-alarm fire that destroyed the under-construction portion of the Avalon Maplewood — did not make the top 15.

Here, listed according to number of page views, are the top 15 stories published on between Jan. 1 and December 27, 2017:

  1. SOMS Student on Paul Ryan Photo Op: We’re Not Brainwashed — South Orange Maplewood 8th grader Jordan McCray-Robinson penned a rebuttal to those within and without the SOMA community who thought that the decision by scores of 8th graders to opt out of a photo-op with U.S. Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan was orchestrated by adults. The piece was picked up by The Washington Post and Jordan gained an audience from around the country and the globe. See Jordan’s Middle School graduation speech here.

  2. Visiting South Orange Students Refuse Photo With Speaker Ryan — Coming in second with about half the page views is the story and the incident that inspired Jordan McCray-Robinson’s piece.

  3. VIDEO, PHOTOS: Columbia High Students Walk Out in Protest of Trump Inauguration — On January 20, hundreds of Columbia High School students walked out of class and marched to Maplewood Town Hall, where they voiced their opposition to the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump.

  4. Video Reveals Maplewood Police Kicking, Macing Teens; Some Call for Cimino to Resign — After a year of filing Open Public Record Act requests, Maplewood police released video to Village Green and members of the community showing the aftermath of the arrest of four local teens on July 5, 2016, in which Maplewood Police officers punched and kicked a 16-year-old Maplewood resident who was face down on the ground being handcuffed.

  5. CHS Student Defends Her Work in Wake of Special Dance Controversy — After a spring performance of the Columbia High School Special Dance Company, a controversy erupted when some faculty members reportedly told administration they felt “unsafe” after seeing a dance choreographed by senior Kendi Whitaker based on the song “Strange Fruit” about the lynching of African Americans. Whitaker spoke during the public comments portion of the June Board of Education meeting. The publication of her comments was Village Green’s 5th biggest story of 2017.

  6. Maplewood Couple to Open ‘The Cassidy’ Restaurant at the Clarus this Fall — South Orange and Maplewood residents love their restaurants, as evidenced by the fact that the announcement of the opening of The Cassidy by Tom and Jennifer Carlin in the new Clarus Maplewood was the 6th biggest story of 2017.

  7. PHOTOS, VIDEO: ‘Flash Mob for Sharon’ Shows the South Orange-Maplewood Love — More than 100 residents of South Orange and Maplewood gathered outside one home on Oakland Road on an October evening to bring cheer to their friend and neighbor Sharon Duberman Geraghty. When Sharon passed away in December; her husband Michael posted this beautiful tribute.

  8. Millburn Parents Angry, Dismayed at Blackface Incident in Elementary School — Another big story from June: A white fifth-grade student dressed as Martin Luther King, Jr., wore black makeup on her face,for a school wax museum event. Parents charged that she was allowed to participate in the event and was placed next to the only child of color in the grade participating in the event.

  9. Police: Son Charged with Beating His Father to Death in Maplewood Home — Alexander Taylor Reason was arrested and charged with murder and weapons charges in connection with the alleged beating death of his father, 53-year-old Wesley Reason at their Broadview Avenue home in June.

  10. Maplewood TC Calls for Cimino’s Resignation, Places Him on Leave as Protesters Take Over National Night Out
  11. July 5, 2016 Maplewood Police Audio Tapes: ‘Get ‘Em Down Elmwood!’

  12. Watch NJ and South Orange, Maplewood Election Results Live: November 7, 2017

  13. Cornbread, Soul Food With Afro-Caribbean Flavor, Coming to Springfield Avenue

  14. Mayors Get Concessions from NJTransit on Morris & Essex Diversion

  15. Local Conservatives Question SOMA Community’s Commitment to Political Diversity

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