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South Orange Welcomes Newcomers at Annual Get-Acquainted Event

Danielle Francisco

Sunday, September 22, 2013 • 9:35pm

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ -- More than 100 new residents of South Orange came out to this year’s newcomer’s event at the South Orange Public Library.

Michael Fancher, a newcomer to South Orange, said he came to the event to become more involved in the community. “I’ve actually lived here for a year, but my wife and I work in the city and the commuting really makes it difficult to get to know people.” Fancher spent the majority of his time with the 3-D printer, watching the demonstration.

The Tech Playground, which was demonstrated today, includes many computers, scanners and a piece both interesting and unique, a 3-D printer. This not only prints objects that you might be missing, but it prints them as a 3-D object that you can use.

The library hopes to offer this printer to the community in hopes that they will be able to print special items that could be of use to them in their homes.

Melissa Kopecky, the director of the South Orange Public Library, said the event went well. “I really like having it at the library, which we started last year," she said. "The Community Relations Committee asked if they could have it here, and I said ‘Sure, that sounds like a great idea.'" Co-chairs of the committee Larry Branch, who said the event was “very productive and had a great turnout,” and Janis Zaveri coordinated planning of the event.

The event featured three speakers: Alex Torpey the village president; Sampson Davis, a medical doctor and a graduate of Seton Hall University as well as a resident of South Orange; and Nichole Nelson, who is a graduate student and studied at Vanderbilt.

Davis spoke about wellness and civic engagement. He discussed his two books, "Patton," which is a New York Times best seller, and "Living and Dying in Brick City," which “talks about Rameck Hunt and George Jenkins, who are also part of the Three Doctors Foundation, and how it was going through high school, college and medical school together. It then goes into discuss how it is for me now as an emergency room physician, almost like a memoir," he said in an interview with The Alternative Press.

A program launched today, the South Orange Public Library Wiki, is similar to Wikipedia but with the history of South Orange. “It’s designed to be collaborative and be easy to change and take all kinds of formats," said Ellen Columbus, the consulting local history librarian.

Lindita Cani, the head of reference and library services, worked on this with committee members and some trustees who “will soon put video interviews on the site, along with some of the village residents who have already done so." To view the wiki or add your own information to it visit: www.sopl.org/mediawiki and email or text the librarian so they can assign you a username and a password.

The reporter is a student participating in hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.

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