SCOTCH PLAINS — State health officials will investigate reports of a large number of cancer diagnoses among residents living on a segment of Sycamore Avenue.
At its final business meeting of the year on Tuesday, Deputy Manager Margaret Heisey said county health officers have spoken with residents who live on the Sycamore Avenue cul-de-sac extending from Mountain Avenue. Soon, “the state will handle it,” she said, with support from the county health department. Once the state concludes its investigation, it will report any findings to township officials.
Last month, several Sycamore Avenue residents spoke to the council about the number of people living on the street who have suffered from cancer. Patricia Darrell told the governing body last month that she and her neighbors are “concerned about the excessive cancer that’s on one side of the street.” She asked if the soil in that neighborhood could be tested, and wondered if a barrel of chemicals may have been buried on the block years ago. Her neighbor, Larry Hazell, told the council that his two sons are being treated for cancer, his wife died in January from cancer and his next-door neighbor died from cancer two weeks ago. “It’s too much of a coincidence,” he said.
Ms. Heisey said on Tuesday that if anyone else thinks their health may have been affected, they should contact the township.
In other business, the council passed an ordinance to allow township inspectors to enforce maintenance requirements for sidewalks and to work with property owners to repair faulty sidewalks in front of their properties.
The third round of leaf pickup will hopefully begin next week, Ms. Heisey said, with the second round wrapping up this week. She also told the council that preliminary discussions with department heads about the 2024 municipal budget have begun, and that administrators will be ready to discuss the proposals with the council early in the new year.
At the beginning of its meeting, the council honored the Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School Girls’ Varsity Gymnastics team, and prior to the meeting, three championship PAL football teams were saluted. Mayor Joshua Losardo also announced the appointments of Ernesto and Suzanne Hernandez and Kevin Mulroy to the veterans’ advisory board.