Kinnelon Had 'Exceptionally Rough' Year After Soldier's Death, Mayor Says

Resident questions why borough did not host its own 9/11 memorial event.

The death of U.S. Army Spc. Jonathan Batista did not only affect his own family. It rocked the entire Kinnelon community, according to Mayor Bob Collins.

So much so that Collins said Thursday the borough decided not to have its own 9/11 memorial ceremony this year.

"Kinnelon had an exceptionally rough year this year," he said.

Collins and Kinnelon Council members were questioned by a resident who has lived in the borough for less than a year but took note of the fact that Kinnelon did not host an event this year while Butler and Bloomingdale hosted their annual Candlelight Walk.

Collins mentioned the special ceremony the borough hosted last year in honor of the tenth anniversary of the event. He also said Kinnelon's roads would not accomodate a walk similar to that of the Candlelight Walk.

But one of the main reasons Collins said the borough decided not to have a 9/11 event this year was because he said the community is still mourning the loss of Batista, who was killed in combat in Afghanistan on July 8.

Batista was killed by small arms fire while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in the Kandahar province. He was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, NC and was the recipient of the Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal and several other honors.

Batista's body was welcomed home by residents who lined the sides of Kinnelon Road on July 15 before a funeral service and burial at the Our Lady of the Magnificat cemetery.

"I don't know that people have recovered from losing that soldier," Collins said.

While Collins said 9/11 is a day that will never be forgotten in Kinnelon, and noted the steel beam artifact the borough obtained and now displays in the Kinnelon Municipal Building lobby, he said the borough will consider having its own memorial event next year.

4real? September 24, 2012 at 08:32 AM
When did the mayor and council decide this? It must have happened at a non public meeting of the majority of the council. There are no minutes posted on the boro website regarding this. I do not recall any previous news coverage on this decision. I agree the community is mourning the loss of a soldier but we also lost other members of our community on 9/11. Disgraceful.
Rich September 24, 2012 at 07:33 PM
It the SAME old Story. He sees, or feels something, and he makes changes that affect the entire town. He saw some fellows solar panels, IN ANOTHER County, and look what happened here. Want to save money on Electric, just fork over a few more dollars to the town. Now, because he tries to show he is so hurt personally, he puts the kabosh on the whole town paying respect on 9/11, by saying we had a "rough year"? I fervently support our troops, and like most people have also had rough years...higher taxes, less service, job losses,ETC.. IT is truly time to CLEAN house in Kinnelon.
Robin Hood September 24, 2012 at 10:06 PM
However, we are ready for K-Fest.
peanut622 September 25, 2012 at 12:00 PM
it's all good in fine to honor this great young man Rip jonathan, every few weeks there is something in his honor, maybe at this point the family wants a little rest they are grieving as well, as long as everyone respects the families wishes and they are ok lets do the honoring, but please keep in mind the family needs sometime to grieve and get over this tragedy as well!!!!!!1 thanks for all your sacrafices and good luck to the Batista/Gaston family through all your ups and downs


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