EAST ORANGE, NJ — Despite complaints from residents throughout Essex County about their municipalities’ poor response to cleaning up the record-breaking amount of snow that fell on Saturday, Jan. 23, the general response from East Orange has been mostly positive.
At least that was the case at the City Council meeting Monday, Jan. 25, where Mayor Lester Taylor and City Council Chairman Ted Green announced the snow removal effort in East Orange has been under way in earnest since before Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency on Friday, Jan. 22, right before Winter Storm Jonas dumped nearly 3 feet of snow on much of New Jersey.
When it comes to weather emergencies, Taylor is a veteran, having had to deal with a record number of several snowstorms right after he was inaugurated in January 2014; cumulatively, those storms dumped as much snow and ice on East Orange as the recent blizzard did.
“Cleaning up in the aftermath of Winter Storm Jonas has been a monumental task,” Taylor said Tuesday, Jan. 26. “Our Public Works, Public Safety and Property Maintenance employees have been diligently working around the clock to make our streets safe and passable for motorists and pedestrians. As we continue the process of clearing and then removing the snow, we ask for everyone’s patience and cooperation so we can get the job done.”
Green said he and his team of snow-shoveling volunteers took to the city streets Sunday, Jan. 24, and Monday, Jan. 25, to help out seniors, the homebound, and others in need, and were more than happy to help out.
“I had 14 to 15 people with me, out there shoveling and helping people,” Green said Tuesday, Jan. 26. “Everybody that was on my list of 44 people, we provided snow removal for them to make sure that, in the event of an emergency, they could be able to get out to get what they need. Not one could say we weren’t out there doing what we always do.”
Green said he believes East Orange did well in responding to the historic snowfall.
“I want to commend the kids from East Orange Campus High School that came out to do public service and give back to their community,” Green said.
“I went over there and spoke to a group of freshman kids on Tuesday, Jan. 19, about the need to serve our community and give back to it and they came out on Sunday and Monday and put in work. I want to thank the Campus High School kids and the A Diamond Among Men group for working with me this year. We had orange hats on purposely so that people would know that was (us). It didn’t cost the seniors a dime. We kept money in our seniors’ pockets.”