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Verona is a township in Essex Countymarker, New Jerseymarker, United Statesmarker. As of the United States 2000 Census, the township population was 13,533, making it the 181st most populous municipality in New Jersey (out of 566 statewide).

In 2008, New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Verona #1 in Essex County and #3 in New Jersey as "Top Places to Live in New Jersey".

History

Verona and several neighboring towns were all originally one town known as the Horseneck Tract. In 1702, a group of settlers left Newarkmarker and purchased a large tract of land northwest of their home city for the equivalent of a few hundred dollars from the Lenni Lenape Native Americans. This piece of land extended west and north to the Passaic River, south to the town center of what would become Livingstonmarker, and east to the First Watchung Mountain, and was called Horseneck by the natives because it resembled the neck and head of a horse.

What was then known as Horseneck contained most of the present day northern Essex County towns: Verona, along with Caldwellmarker, West Caldwellmarker, Cedar Grovemarker, Essex Fellsmarker, Fairfieldmarker, North Caldwellmarker, and Roselandmarker are all located entirely in Horseneck, and parts of what are today Livingstonmarker, Montclairmarker, and West Orangemarker also were contained in the Horseneck tract. After the Revolutionary War, Horseneck changed its name to "Caldwell Township" in honor of a local war hero and pastor, James Caldwell, who used burning pages from his church's bibles to ignite the ammo in soldiers' cannons and helped to drive the Britishmarker out of Horseneck.

By the mid-19th century, the area of Caldwell to the east of today's Caldwell Borough and Montclair became known as Vernon Valley. However, when application was made for a United States Post Office, the townspeople were informed that another Vernon Valley, in Sussex Countymarker, had first claim to the name. The name Verona was put forth by the townspeople as a suitable alternative and was eventually accepted.

At various times between 1798 and 1892, issues arose which caused dissatisfaction between the Caldwell and Verona areas. These included a desire of the citizens of Verona to more closely control their own governmental affairs. With the population growing, Verona needed to centrally locate essential services such as schools and places of worship; problems with the water supply; and the disposition of road repair funds. On February 17, 1892, the citizens of Verona voted to secede from Caldwell Township to form Verona Township. Further growth and the need for a water system and other public utilities found Verona moving ahead of the other half of the township and in 1902 the two areas decided to separate into two separate municipalities: Verona Township and Verona Borough. It took two sessions of the state legislature to approve the new borough, but on April 18, 1907, the borough of Verona was approved by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature, pending the results of a referendum held on April 30, 1907, in which the new borough passed by a 224-77 margin. Residents of the newly formed borough had sought to disassociate themselves from the Overbrook County Insane Asylum and the Newark City Home (a reform school), as well as from the settlement of Cedar Grove, which was considered a settlement of farmers.

Verona Township renamed itself to Cedar Grove Townshipmarker as of April 9, 1908.

In 1982, Verona became a township to take advantage of federal revenue sharing policies. As an example of the potential benefits of switching to a township, Verona Borough received $213,000 in federal aid in 1976, while similarly-sized Cedar Grove Township received $1.24 million. Today, Verona uses just "Township of Verona" in most official documents, but some other official documents such as purchase orders still include "Township of Borough of…".

Geography

Verona is located at (40.832449, -74.242276).

Verona lies between two mountains, the First and Second Watchung Mountains with a small river, the Peckman, flowing at the bottom of the valley.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 2.8 square miles (7.2 km2), of which, 2.8 square miles (7.1 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2) of it (0.72%) is water.

Verona is bordered by Cedar Grovemarker (North), Montclairmarker (East, northeast and southeast), West Orangemarker (South), Essex Fellsmarker (Southwest) and North Caldwellmarker (Northwest).

Climate

Verona has a temperate climate, with warm/hot humid summers and cool/cold winters. The climate is slightly cooler overall during the summer than in New York Citymarker because there is no urban heat island effect.

January tends to be the coldest month, with average high temperatures in the upper 30s (Fahrenheit) and lows in the lower 20s. July is the warmest months with high temperatures in the mid 80s and lows in the mid 60s. From April to June and from September to early November, Verona enjoys temperatures from the lower 60s to upper 70s. Rainfall is plentiful, with around 44 inches (1,100 mm) a year. Snowfall is common from mid January to early March and nor'easters can bring a lot of snow. In January 1996, Verona received about 3 feet (0.91 m) of snow from the Blizzard of 1996.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 13,533 people, 5,585 households, and 3,697 families residing in the township. The population density was 4,917.4 people per square mile (1,900.0/km2). There were 5,719 housing units at an average density of 2,078.1/sq mi (803.0/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 92.99% White, 1.53% African American, 0.02% Native American, 3.41% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.71% from other races, and 1.27% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.45% of the population.

There were 5,585 households out of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.3% were married couples living together, 7.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 30.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the township the population was spread out with 22.5% under the age of 18, 4.3% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 25.1% from 45 to 64, and 19.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 89.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.8 males.

The median income for a household in the township was $74,619, and the median income for a family was $97,673. Males had a median income of $60,434 versus $43,196 for females. The per capita income for the township was $41,202, making it the 8th highest community in Essex County and 95th in the State. About 1.4% of families and 3.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.6% of those under age 18 and 6.2% of those age 65 or over.

Government

Local government

Verona operates under the Faulkner Act form of municipal government, and is governed by a five-member Township Council. Members are elected in nonpartisan elections to four-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with two or three seats coming up for election every other year.

The members of the Verona Township Council are
  • Mayor Teena Schwartz (term ends June 30, 2011)
  • Deputy Mayor Frank Sapienza (2011)
  • Bob Manley (2013)
  • Ken McKenna (2013)
  • Jay Sniatkowski (2013).


The day-to-day activities are supervised by Township Manager Joseph Martin.

Federal, state and county representation

Verona is in the Eighth Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 40th Legislative District.

Politics

On the national level, Verona leans toward the Republican Party. In 2008, Republican John McCain received 3,730 votes (49.6%) here, defeating Democrat Barack Obama, who received 3,664 votes (48.8%).

Education

Public schools

The Verona Public Schoolsmarker is the public school district in Verona, which serves students in Kindergarten through twelfth grade. Schools in the district (with 2005-06 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are four K-4 elementary schools, located in each corner of town —

In addition

The high school mascot is the "Hillbilly". However, this mascot has become controversial as a result of opposition from previous school Superintendent Earl Kim. In the face of community support for the traditional name, the mascot was retained. While not officially changing the name, the school refers to teams as the "Maroon and White", referring to the school colors.

The district has been recognized on three occasions with the Best Practice Award, honoring specific practices implemented by a district for exemplary and/or innovative strategies. In Addition, three schools in the district was named a "Star School" by the New Jersey Department of Education, the highest honor that a New Jersey school can achieve. NJ Monthly Magazine places Verona High School in the top 50 nearly on a yearly basis of its list of "Top Public High Schools in New Jersey".

Private schools

Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School serves students in pre-school through eighth grade, and is situated near Verona Park.

The Children's Institute (TCI) is a private, non-profit school approved by the New Jersey Department of Education, serving children facing learning, language and social challenges, for children ages 3–21.

Transportation

Within the limits of the town lies Route 23 and CR 506 which runs directly through the township. CR577 also runs through the southeastern portion of Verona. Other highways near Verona include the Garden State Parkway, Interstate 80, and the New Jersey Turnpike.New Jersey Transit has several bus routes that serve Verona: 11, 29 and 75. DeCamp Bus Lines also offers commuter service that goes into New York Citymarker: 33, West Caldwell / Port Authority Bus Terminalmarker.

Formerly running through Verona was the Erie Railroad's Caldwell Branch, but service declined and the line was destroyed in the 1970s.

In the early 20th century, Verona was serviced by a trolley line which operated on Bloomfield Avenue. The tracks still lie underneath the roadway, and are visible when the roadway is under construction.

Verona is 14.3 miles from Newark Liberty International Airportmarker in Newarkmarker / Elizabethmarker, and almost double the miles farther from John F. Kennedy International Airportmarker and LaGuardia Airportmarker.

Local media

Newspaper

Verona is served by two weekly newspapers: The Verona-Cedar Grove Times, and the Verona Observer. The Star-Ledger, the largest newspaper in New Jersey, covers important news stories that occur in Verona.

Radio

Verona falls in the , as well as the .

Television

Verona Cable television is served by Comcast of New Jersey. However, in the 2000s, Verizon introduced its Verizon FiOS service to the township. Comcast Channel 35 & Verizon FiOS Channel 24 is Verona Television (VTV), and it runs council meetings, school board meetings and community functions, as well as any other Verona related videos submitted by the residents. VTV is maintained by the Verona Public Library.

Community services

  • The Verona Fire Department is one of the largest fully volunteer Fire Departments in Essex County, staffed by over 60 firefighters. They have two stations, three engines, one ladder truck, one reserve engine, one brush truck, one utility truck, and two command vehicles. The Department will be celebrating its 100th year of service in 2009. A parade and the wetdown of the new truck 12 will mark the celebrations.
  • The Verona Rescue Squad (volunteer) has three ambulances, one heavy rescue truck, and one command vehicle in one station on Church Street.
  • The main street in Verona is Bloomfield Avenue, where the Town Hall, Library, Middle School, and many shops, restaurants, and businesses are located.
  • During the American Revolutionary War, George Washington and his troops used Eagle Rock Reservationmarker as one of a chain of observation posts.
  • Annin Flag Company, is the world's oldest & largest flag manufacturer and has its main manufacturing plant in Verona. Annin & Company is the official flag manufacturer to the United Nations, and a major supplier to the United States Government. Annin produced flags that were used on Iwo Jimamarker, planted on the surface of the Moon, at the Northmarker and South Polesmarker, atop Mount Everestmarker and the rubble of the World Trade Centermarker.
  • Before its ceasing operation in 1977, the Essex Mountain Sanatorium boasted of a 50% recovery rate and was regarded as one of the finest treatment centers in the nation, if not the world. Its location on the crest of the Second Mountain, with its pure air and water, was considered the Colorado Springsmarker of the east and second only to Denver for beneficial results in the treatment of Tuberculosis.
  • Most of Verona's housing stock is pre-World War II.


Parks and recreation Area



Noted Verona residents



Popular culture

  • Two Guys from Verona, a novel, takes place in Verona.
  • The TV Show The Sopranos takes place in the area, thus the storyline includes Verona at times. The show films at various locations in town. A Verona Rescue Squad Truck is clearly seen when Livia Soprano dies in the episode "Proshai, Livushka".
  • The 1987 fictional movie Doom Asylum was filmed at the now demolished Essex Mountain Sanatorium.
  • Pizza My Heart, an ABC Family movie, is a contemporary retelling of Romeo and Juliet, that takes place in Verona (New Jersey, not Italy). Although the storyline takes place in Verona, it was actually filmed in New Orleansmarker, Louisianamarker.
  • The original, unaired pilot of the television show Strangers With Candy was filmed at Verona High School. The VHS signboard is also used in almost every episode thereafter to display various witticisms, although the name has been changed to that of the school in the show, Flatpoint High School.
  • Choke, the film adapted from the Chuck Palahniuk novel of the same name was filmed at the Essex County Hospital Center in neighboring Cedar Grove. It was said that the move would not have been made if this filming location was not found.


References

  1. List of municipalities in New Jersey , accessed October 27, 2006.
  2. Top Places to Live in New Jersey, New Jersey Monthly magazine, accessed February 21, 2008.
  3. Caldwell New Jersey Historical Photographs and History, accessed October 15, 2006.
  4. "The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries: 1606-1968", John P. Snyder, Bureau of Geology and Topography; Trenton, New Jersey; 1969. p. 194.
  5. "VERONA DROPS CEDAR GROVE.", The New York Times, May 2, 1907. pg. 2
  6. New Jersey State Commission on County and Municipal Government, Modern Forms of Municipal Government, 1992, Chapter VI: Municipal Names and Municipal Classification
  7. "Opponent of Distribution Formula For Federal Aid Steps Up Attack; As South Orange Moves to Become Township, Montclair Aide Calls for Equitable Sharing", The New York Times August 29, 1977. p. 59.
  8. New Jersey locations by per capita income, accessed January 1, 2007.
  9. 2005 New Jersey Legislative District Data Book, Rutgers University Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, April 2005, p. 169.
  10. Verona Township Council 2006-2007, accessed March 14, 2007.
  11. 2008 New Jersey Citizen's Guide to Government, New Jersey League of Women Voters, p. 65. Accessed September 30, 2009.
  12. http://www.state.nj.us/state/elections/results_2009_doe.html
  13. Data for the Verona Public Schools, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed April 14, 2008.
  14. Starnes, Joe Samuel. "Smile When You Say That", The New York Times, March 19, 2006. Accessed April 14, 2008.
  15. Verona Fire Department Accessed October 16, 2006.
  16. About Annin - History, accessed December 28, 2006.
  17. History of The Essex Mountain Sanatorium, accessed December 28, 2006.
  18. "Former Devil coaches son at high school", Verona - Cedar Grove Times, January 18, 2007. p. B1.
  19. Slater, Robert. John Bogle and the Vanguard experiment : One Man’s Quest to Transform the Mutual Fund Industry. Chicago: Irwin Professional Pub., 1997. (ISBN 0786305592)
  20. Ernestine Bradley finds 'home' amid husband's career, Capital Living by Betsy Rothstein, April 5, 2005.
  21. Peter David. But I Digress Collection; 1994; Krause Publications; Pages 206-208
  22. He made Verona the home location of villain Morgan le Fay in his first novel, Knight Life.
  23. Anthony Fasano profile, National Football League Players Association. Accessed July 24, 2007. "Hometown: Verona, N.J.... Anthony Joseph Fasano was a four-year letterman and two-year captain at Verona, N.J., High School as a tight end and defensive lineman. He helped led the team to the New Jersey state title among Group 1 schools and threw the game-winning PAT pass in the 2001 title game."
  24. 2004 VHSAA HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES: Jed Graef, 1960, U.S. Olympic Gold Medal Winner, accessed July 12, 2006.
  25. Fred Hill profile, Rutgers University. Accessed May 29, 2007.
  26. Environmentalist Fred Krupp Helps Crush the Ubiquitous Fast-Food Clamshell, People Magazine, Vol. 35, No. 14 (April 15, 1991). Accessed October 14, 2009.
  27. University of Dayton:Alumni Awards, April 16, 2007.
  28. Verona Fire Department Members
  29. Biography of Jay Mohr from Moviefone, Accessed December 25, 2006.
  30. World Series of Poker 1996, accessed April 16, 2007. "Henry Orenstein, a 72-year-old toy inventor, former chess player, and concentration camp survivor from Verona, New Jersey, defeated 64 opponents last night to win the 20th event of the 27th annual World Series of Poker at Binion's Horseshoe Hotel and Casino."
  31. KENNETH POSNER, Playbill. Accessed January 11, 2008. "He resides in Verona, New Jersey, with his wife Michelle and their three children."
  32. U.S. Team athletes for 2002 Winter Games, Deseret Morning News, January 30, 2002, accessed April 16, 2007.
  33. "Col. John Roosma Dead at 83; Basketball Star at West Point", The New York Times, November 14, 1983. Accessed January 11, 2008.
  34. Official site for the ABC Family original movie Pizza My Heart, accessed December 28, 2006.


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