Home Essex County 26 Essex County News Stories This Week

26 Essex County News Stories This Week

by The Montclair Girl Team
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It’s been another busy week in Essex County and there are plenty of headlines to catch up on. Some highlights include: Newark LGBTQ Film Festival announced; Montclair State University hosts an entrepreneurship event; and a challenge to ban books in Glen Ridge fails. Read on to learn more. 

Montclair Center BID Endorses Lackawanna Redevelopment Plan

The Montclair Center Business Improvement District (BID) has endorsed the Lackawanna Redevelopment Plan. The BID stated that the opportunity to add housing, office, and retail spaces to the currently-vacant space is an incredible opportunity for the town’s economic development. Per Montclair Local, the BID represents over 150 Montclair property owners, and the group delivered its report at a Township Council meeting on the proposed redevelopment on January 29th.

Newark LGBTQ Film Festival Announced

The New Jersey Motion Picture & Television Commission is seeking submissions for the first-ever Newark LGBTQ Film Festival. In an Instagram post announcing the event, organizers say that feature-length and short films, including documentaries, and experimental projects, are all eligible for consideration. “The Festival is looking to highlight films by BIPOC LGBTQ creators, and about topics relevant to the LGBTQ community in Newark, NJ,” the post reads.

Delays for Maplewood Bridge Construction

The reopening of Duck Pond Bridge in Maplewood has been delayed. Per Patch, supply chain-related delays in getting supplies mean that the contractor has had to push back the anticipated re-opening date to late summer 2023. There were issues with support beams that were delivered for the project, so re-ordering them has added additional time to the project.

Montclair’s Nami Nori Opens for Lunch

Nami Nori Montclair
Popular Montclair sushi restaurant Nami Nori, located at 378 Bloomfield Avenue, launched its lunch menu this week, per a press release. The lunch menu is available Tuesday through Saturday from 12PM to 2:30PM. The restaurant’s full menu is available at lunch, including items like X.O. scallop temaki with tobiko and lemon, and spicy tuna dip with crispy rice chips, serrano, and Asian pear.

Maplewood Neighbors form Community Group for Charitable Donations

Former Maplewood Mayor Fred Profeta is the president of the newly-organized Maplewood Foundation Board of Trustees. Per Patch, the group was formed by Fred Profeta and his wife Susan along with 16 other volunteers with the goal of raising money to fund local causes. Grants are available for a variety of individuals and organizations. For more information, visit the organization’s website.

Book Ban at Glen Ridge Public Library Unanimously Fails

An effort to remove six titles from the Glen Ridge library failed after the Glen Ridge Public Library Board of Trustees voted to keep the challenged titles, according to BaristaNet. The meeting started with two hours of public commentary before the Board voted unanimously to keep the titles. The Board also received over 200 letters from community members protesting the possibility of banning the titles. The titles were challenged by a local group called Citizens Defending Education (CDE).

Montclair Councilman Sets, Meets, and Exceeds Charity Fundraising Goal

Montclair Councilman-at-Large Peter Yacobellis launched a fundraiser to support the efforts of Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless (MESH), specifically because of the extremely cold weather. In a statement, Councilman Yacobellis said “We’ve all seen unhoused individuals around town, at Lackawanna Plaza, on S. Park street and other places. With this excessive cold, I want to make sure MESH – as a non-profit organization, has the resources they need to make sure no one is literally left out in the cold.” The fundraiser had a goal of $5,000, which was reached in one day.


Newark Charter School Purchases Historic Temple for New Campus

According to Jersey Digs, a historic temple in Newark will begin a new chapter as a charter school. The Temple B’nai Abraham building at 621 Clinton Avenue was purchased by People’s Preparatory Charter School for $2.5 million. The Temple was built in 1924 and at one point was the largest temple in New Jersey.

Montclair Cannabis Micro-Cultivator Gains Conditional Approval


A cannabis grower is now one step closer to being able to open after a vote by the Montclair Planning Board, according to Patch. The business, Genuine Grow, was granted conditional approval by the Planning Board.  Genuine Grow is a micro-cultivation cannabis business and will be located at 154 Pine Street.

Newark Touts its ‘House America’ Achievements in Reducing Homelessness

The City of Newark is a participant in a program with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) called House America, which focuses on increasing housing resources, technical resources and housing vouchers. Per Patch, Newark has met and exceeded its goals for the first year of the program, housing 539 people and funding over 1,500 affordable units using HUD resources.

NJ Electric Rates to Increase Starting June 2023

electric wires

In a press release, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities announced a rate increase for electricity in New Jersey, which will go into effect on June 1, 2023. The average monthly bill will increase anywhere from 3.3% to 6.9%

Four WWII Chaplains Honored

Four WWII Chaplains were honored by the Newark Archdiocese with a special mass on February 5th at St. Stephen’s Church in Kearney. Per Patch, the four chaplains, of different faiths, all sacrificed their life jackets when their boat, the USAT Dorchester, was torpedoed. Several local veterans groups and community organizations participated in the tribute.

More Rabies Found in Montclair Animals

Another Montclair skunk was found to have rabies, per Patch. This is the sixth animal in the past six months to test positive for rabies in Montclair. Residents are encouraged to contact the Animal Control Service Request Line immediately at 862-621-9113 to have an animal control officer dispatched if they notice an animal acting strangely.

Bloomfield Nurse Receives Community Support

A Bloomfield nurse who took care of others during COVID is now the one receiving care. Marti Carlos was recently diagnosed with metastatic cancer of the spine, according to Patch, and his coworkers and friends have set up a GoFundMe campaign to support his treatment. “Marti’s spirit lights up a room, and he is always willing to extend his hand to others in need,” the site reads.

Changes Underway in Montclair Township’s Leadership

Per Montclair Local, the first steps are underway to remove the township’s manager, Timothy Stafford. In October 2022, an investigation into Mr. Stafford’s behavior began after the town’s Chief Financial Officer, Padmaja Rao, made allegations against Mr. Stafford of his creating a hostile work environment for herself and other women working for the town. Ms. Rao named both Mr. Stafford and the Township in a lawsuit. At that time, the Council voted to put Mr. Stafford on paid, administrative leave. At a February 7th Council meeting, another vote was taken to remove Mr. Stafford from office. The vote was 5-0 in favor of his removal.

Kura Sushi Opens in Edison

Kura Sushi, a chain known for its revolving sushi bar, has now opened a location in Edison, per a press release. The restaurant is located at 1781 Route 27. Kura is a Japanese chain that has been growing in popularity in the US. The Edison location is the third New Jersey outpost, joining the Jersey City and Fort Lee locations. Regular hours at the Edison location will begin on February 14th.

Teacher at Montclair High Honored

Dr. Davida Lindsay-Harewood, a social studies teacher at Montclair High School, was honored by Montclair State University as part of the University’s Black History Month celebrations, according to BaristaNet. At the Black Educator’s Summit at MSU on February 4th, Dr. Davida Lindsay-Harewood received the Amistad Implementation Award.  Dr. Lindsay-Harewood is known as one of the state’s most influential Amistad educators.

Chip City Opening Ridgewood Location

chip city ridgewood
NYC-based cookie chain Chip City is making moves into the Garden State. A store will be opening in Ridgewood on February 18th, according to a press release. The store will be located at 305 E Ridgewood Avenue, and the first 100 customers get a free cookie.

NJ Attorney General Cites North Jersey Businesses for Unlawful Surcharges

In a press release, the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General (OAG) announced fines and other penalties for four North Jersey businesses for either not accepting cash or for not notifying customers of a surcharge when paying by credit card. The North Jersey business include: Hidden Grounds – Hoboken; Ronnie’s Hot Bagels in Hillsdale; Seymour’s Cafe in Clifton, and the Dream Wheel at American Dream Mall in East Rutherford. “New Jersey consumers deserve to know exactly how much they will be paying when they go to a store and be able to pay however they can,” said Attorney General Platkin. “Many consumers from underrepresented communities do not have access to bank accounts or credit cards. Laws requiring businesses to accept cash protect those consumers and ensure social equity in stores throughout the state.”

Wu-Tang Clan Member Behind Newark Cannabis Lounge


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A post shared by Raekwon The Chef (@raekwon)

Rapper Raekwon, of the Wu-Tang Clan, has announced plans to open a cannabis lounge at 799-805 Broad Street in Newark, per Jersey Digs. The lounge is called Hashtoria and plans presented at a meeting last week show designs that incorporate brick facades and feature local artwork. Hashtoria is an Oregon-based cannabis brand founded by Raekwon, and this location will be the brand’s first in New Jersey. The space is designed by Montclair-based firm RHG Architecture + Design.

Montclair State University to Host Entrepreneurship Event

The Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship + Innovation at Montclair State University is launching the first in a series of events called Montclair Starts Up, according to a press release. The event is geared toward startups and entrepreneurs in North Jersey. The first event will be on February 15th from 6PM to 8PM. Registration is free. There will be a fireside chat with a featured entrepreneur and quick pitches from selected businesses.

Holocaust Survivor to Speak at Montclair High School

Per Montclair Local,  Montclair High School students will get the chance to hear from a Holocaust survivor on February 14th. Students read Liesl’s Ocean Rescue, a children’s book by Barbara Krasne, which has a similar premise to Ronnie Reutlinger Breslow’s real-life story. She will speak to students about her journey on the MS St. Louis, a ship attempting to carry Jewish refugees to safety just months before World War II began.

Newark Penn Station to get Air Conditioning Upgrades


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A post shared by NJ TRANSIT (@njtransit)

NJ Transit announced this week in a press release that Newark Penn Station will undergo renovation to upgrade its air conditioning systems. The work will replace the current system of chillers and cooling towers, which is over 30 years old. The work is part of a larger modernization effort that began in 2020 with a $190 million commitment from Governor Murphy.

Senator Cory Booker Attends Bloomfield Temple

According to Montclair Local, Senator Cory Booker attended Shabbat services at Temple Ner Tamid on Friday, February 3rd. Senator Booker delivered the sermon and reiterated his commitment to fighting hate crimes. The Temple was the site of an attempted arson in late January.

45-Story Building Approved in Newark

Plans for the Arc Tower, a 45-story building, were approved by the Newark Office of Planning and Zoning, per Patch. The building will be located at 571 Broad Street and will become Newark’s tallest structure at its completion, measuring at 520 feet. The building will add more than 300 residential units in addition to first-floor retail and a public plaza in front of the building.

Longer PATH Trains on Popular Commuter Route

Commuters will begin to see nine-car trains on the Newark-World Trade Center route, according to NJ.com. The increased train lengths are part of a multi-year effort to improve rail service. The trains are being tested during February and will start taking on passengers in March and April.


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