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Week in Review

Dunkin Donuts, Frankenstorm, Pal Cabin and more

Busy last week and missed all the West Orange news that's fit to be posted?  Here's a quick rundown of last week’s important news:

Teacher Arrested for Sex With Student Will Face Grand Jury.  The case against a West Orange teacher from Montclair charged with a having sexual relationship with one of her students has been referred to a grand jury, according to the Essex County’s Prosecutor’s Office.   Erica DePalo, 33, pleaded not guilty in September to charges that she had a sex with a 15-year-old student who attended her honors English class at West Orange High School.   DePalo, who was chosen as the 2011-12 County Teacher of the Year, is facing charges of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, and endangering the welfare of a child.    The grand jury will decide whether or not to indict DePalo. If she is indicted, she could face a trial or she could attempt to work out a plea deal with the prosecutor's office. In a plea agreement, DePalo would have to plead guilty to some of the charges in exchange for a reduced sentence. The grand jury proceedings are secret and may not be concluded for several weeks.   DePalo began her tenure at the high school in 2003. She was an English teacher and was also the junior varsity tennis coach at the school.  Her relationship with the student began around July 15 and ended Aug. 28, according to the prosecutor’s office.

West Orange Dunkin' Donuts is Fully Kosher.  The Pleasant Valley Way Dunkin' Donuts is the only local store that is kosher (so far). Previously Goldblum and others craving the signature munchkins and coffee went to Elizabeth, NJ, where a kosher Dunkin' Donuts can be found.  Owner Samir Shah confirmed that his store is under the supervision of the Vaad HaKashrus of MetroWest. A visit confirms that the store is very busy, with donuts in demand from early morning through after-school rush, then into evening social time. 

West Orange Redevelopment Counsel to Present at Next Council Meeting.   The recent drama surrounding Prism's redevelopers will come to a head on Tuesday as their redevelopment counsel will make a presentation at the council’s next meeting.  On October 30, representatives of West Orange's Redevelopment Counsel, McManimon & Scotland, as well as representatives of NW Financial, West Orange's redevelopment financial advisors, have been invited by Council President Victor Cirilo to make a presentation to the West Orange Township Council regarding Prism Green Urban Renewal Associates IV, after several council members said they were disappointed with the lack of communication by the company.  The council has been asking about the possible foreclosure of the Barton Press property, the delinquency of property taxes, a request for audited financial statements, and other issues that affect West Orange residents.   "I'm concerned about the financial viability of our designated redevelopers," Councilman Joe Krakoviak said at the October 16 Township Council meeting.  "If the project is not able to move forward financially, I'd rather end this process sooner rather than later; certainly before the township issues the $6.3 million in taxpayer-backed bonds that have been approved for the project."

WO Residents Fear Pals Cabin Will Close.   CVS has applied to the West Orange Zoning Board for variances for the building and property at 265 Prospect Avenue in West Orange, according to the board's secretary Rose DeSena.  That address is the current site of Pals Cabin. Neighbors who received notices about the meeting expressed concern that the 80-year-old restaurant -- a local institution -- could become a CVS if the board approves the application at a special meeting on Nov. 8. According to the meeting agenda, the First Hartford Realty Corp., acting for CVS, has applied for a variance to have a 24-hour drive through lane.  "I will be so sad if this happens," one neighbor wrote to Patch. "We don’t need another drugstore!"   Pals opened in 1932, when friends Martin L. (Marty) Horn and Bion Leroy (Roy) Sale joined forces. The Horn family has continued to operate the popular restaurant since that time, marking its 80th anniversary in May.  Reached by phone on Thursday afternoon, Pals co-owner Marty Horn, Jr. acknowledged the CVS application but said the restaurant was not closing.  "We are not selling the property," said Horn. "We are investigating the possibility of redeveloping the site."

Hurricane Sandy Could Make NJ Landfall Monday.    No two storms are alike, and Hurricane Sandy is as unique as they come, according to one meteorologist. As the late October hurricane continued to wind its way through the Caribbean Friday morning, already leaving 22 dead in its wake, the National Weather Service says Sandy will begin to impact northern New Jersey late Monday into Tuesday. Hurricane Sandy’s track is still on target to batter portions of the mid-Atlantic, according to meteorologist David Stark, but will likely be most damaging in Delaware and Southern New Jersey. “Points north and west (of Delaware and southern New Jersey) will feel the northern side of the storm,” Stark said. “That includes tropical storm winds, but it could be sustained for a longer period of time due to the size of the storm.”  In northern New Jersey, Stark said a band of rain from the storm could dump anywhere between three to six inches of rain on the region late Monday into Tuesday, with a clearing on Wednesday. Heavy rainfall could result in 1 to 2 inches of precipitation per hour at times, Stark said.  Hurricane Sandy has become a moving target for meteorologists, Stark said, and experts won’t really be able to forecast its impact until it reaches the area. But because of a cold-air jet stream bringing pressure from the West, Hurricane Sandy is making meteorologists guess, at best, its impact.  “If that jet stream gets close enough to the area, it will begin to pull (Sandy) inland,” Stark said. “Usually when these things happen it’s out over the Atlantic, not affecting people, so this is very different.”

Halloween Parade Showcases Essex County's Dogs.  Dog owners came up with creative costumes for Essex County's annual "Strut Your Mutt" Halloween parade and contest.   Click HERE to see photos.

A Beautiful Mind's John Nash Comes to South Orange.      The Nobel Laureate and mathematician John Forbes Nash will speak in South Orange on Nov. 15. Nash, the subject of the movie "A Beautiful Mind," will appear at Seton Hall University in an event open to the public.  Nash is best known for the Nash Equilibrium and his works in game theory. He will discuss both during "A Conversation with John Nash."  The talk is free and open to the public:  Nov. 15, 7 - 8 p.m. at Jubilee Hall, 400 South Orange Ave , South Orange, NJ 

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