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Should Butler Post Office Name Be Changed for Killed Soldier?

Majority of Butler Council members oppose name change in honor of Spc. Jonathan Batista while U.S. senator considers inquiry of residents.

A U.S. senator is considering an idea to keep the legacy of a killed soldier from Kinnelon alive in the tri-boro by honorarily renaming the Butler Post Office. But the idea has not received a blessing from the

A spokesperson for Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) confirmed the senator is reviewing a request made by community residents to recognize U.S. Army Spc. Jonathan Batista, a 22-year-old from Kinnelon, July 8, by renaming the post office in his honor. The Butler Post Office is shared by both Butler and under the 07405 zip code.

"Senator Menendez's office has been contacted by local residents expressing an interest in honoring the fallen soldier," the spokesperson said. "Senator Menendez shares in the deep respect and gratitude his neighbors have for Spc. Jonathan Batista and the sacrifice he made for his country. Senator Menendez is reviewing the community’s petition.”

Butler Borough Clerk Mary O'Keefe polled councilmembers informally at Tuesday's workshop meeting. Councilmen Stephen Regis, Robert Meier and Edwin Vath said they did not want the name of the post office changed, Councilman Ray Verdonik said he did not have an opinion on the issue and Councilmen Robert Fox and Sean McNear said they would be in agreement with the name change. After the polling, O'Keefe confirmed that the council did not want the name of the post office changed.

Ultimately, though, O'Keefe said the council has no control over the name change, as the decision would be in the hands of Congress. Still, she said a representative of Mendendez reached out to her to see if she could get a consensus from council members.

Kinnelon Mayor Bob Collins said he was also contacted by Menendez representatives and said he would be speaking to the Kinnelon Council about the request at Thursday night's meeting. He was unsure whether the Butler council members would have an issue naming the post office in their town in honor of a Kinnelon resident, but said he would not object to the name change.

"I think we can't do enough to recognize Spc. Batista," he said.

Collins will be talking to Kinnelon Council members about other ways Batista can be honored in the borough Thursday.

What do you think? Should the Butler Post Office be renamed in honor of Batista? Participate in our poll and then let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that the U.S. Postal Service has the final say in renaming post offices.

Richard Dean August 08, 2012 at 09:48 PM
With all due respect, and I do have the most respect for all of our military members present and past, and will always try to honor the memory of those who have given their lives for our country and extended condolences to the family and friends of Jonathan Batista, but I do not think that changing the name of the Butler Post Office is good nor is it proper. We have had many from the service area of the Butler Post Office killed in our wars and that also takes into consideration when a big part of southern West Milford Township was RFD Butler. Kinnelon could very easily name a street in his honor as has been the practice in many towns. These days a common practice is to proclam an honory street title for that on which the person being honored resided. Therefore perhaps our good friends in Kinnelon should consider that which might even need the approval of the Smoke Rise Club. But to rename the post office should not be done.
laidbackluke August 08, 2012 at 10:00 PM
I believe that should rename Kinnelon Recreation Park to Jonathan Batista Memorial Park or something along those lines instead of something like the post office which could bring about a disagreement. I feel like renaming a town field is just as good.
Richard Dean August 08, 2012 at 10:25 PM
One thing that I would urge Kinnelon officials to do is the research what the Borough of Kinnelon has done in the past to honor its residents who have given the supreme sacrifice for our country. One former official told me recently that several who died in Vietnam were honored iwth plaques at Kinnelon High School, he believed. The idea of a park would be a good idea.
craig marion August 09, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Vince jacobson from kinnelon is the only resident that I know of dieing in the Vietnam war not sure kinnelon did anything to recognize Vince no flag waving I remember as far as the post office it stinks of I want my own zip code wich they should have but by god if you rename it in butler it better be charles skip haber or joey or jimmy matures.
Emailing August 09, 2012 at 12:51 PM
With the state of the Post Office's (almost bankrupt) I feel this could be something that is short term. I like the idea of renaming the park, something our youth will be using and Mr. Batista's name will be remembered every time it is said, unlike "I'm heading to the Batista post office" vs. "the game is being played at Batista park". In Kinnelon, we have many "memorials" for people who have "serviced" our town; s.a., the Sisco school, South Glenn Rd, and all the roads named after the SanFilippo's. Shame on Mr. Menendez for making this a political ploy (when have we actually seen him in this part of NJ anyway?). The people of Kinnelon should make the decision, not him.
Concerned Citizen August 09, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Love the servicemen, but no!
Jan Courtney August 09, 2012 at 02:23 PM
I've read the other comments and really, they say all that I felt when I read the article. Respect - yes but the BUTLER Post office- no. Besides, you all realize that this young man was really from Rutherford.
Mary Ann Santora August 09, 2012 at 05:32 PM
I agree with doing a little homework to verify that all service members are honored. Why not call it Veteran's Memorial Park? Honor ALL of those who have served.
Zoo Keeper August 09, 2012 at 09:42 PM
What Menedez should be concentrating on is to get Kinnelon their OWN Post Office and then they can name it whatever they want. Butler has had servicemen killed in past wars, but, Butler didn't name OUR Post Office after them. There are monuments in Butler park to honor those who gave the supreme sacrifice for all of us. They are honored on Memorial Day and everyday by visitors to the park. I would strongly suggest that kennelon do the same. Place a monument in front of the Municipal building and on Memorial Day, honor the fallen hero. It's the BUTLER POST OFFICE, not the Kinnelon Post Office.
Brian Sniatkowski August 10, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Who knows if that post office will even be open in a year or two. I'd like to see one of the town parks named after him. Kinnelon Rec Park is a good candidate. I understand he played sports in his youth so that would be fitting.
Larry Huyler August 10, 2012 at 03:50 AM
Jay Dandrand was from Kinnelon and died in Viet Nam 12 March 1970. see http://www.njvvmf.org/JAY-T-DANDURAND-vetmemorial1064 Maybe someone can go back and see who from Kinnelon died in the wars since WWI and then talks could be done on ways to memorialize these heros.
Richard Dean August 12, 2012 at 02:33 PM
I have said for many years in the past that there has been no reason why Kinnelon should not have its own post office and definitely its own zip code. However for the past 20 years the mail sorters and carriers have worked out of Wayne's Sheffield Station on Pompton Plains Crossroad and before that for 5 years in part of the furntiure store on Route 23 in Pompton Plains. Recently the Postal Service has been closing smaller post offices left and right. About a year ago I was informed that Newfoundland and Stockholm were consolidated with Oak Ridge but since there were long term leases for the two former post offices that they kept the window and box services open there.

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