As the new year unfolds, the first week has ushered in a flurry of significant events and headline-worthy happenings. It’s been an eventful week and we’ve got you covered with all of the latest local news to keep you in the know. Among the highlights: a helicopter lands in Montclair’s Anderson Park; The Juice House has signage up at 10 Willow Street in Montclair; and a ‘Code Blue’ has been initiated in Newark while cold weather is forecasted. Read on for more news from Montclair, Bloomfield, and beyond for the week ending January 7th, 2024.
Montclair Historic Preservation Commission Votes for Designation of Label Street Historic District
The Montclair Historic Preservation Committee (HPC) unanimously voted for the designation of Label Street Historic District during a December 14th meeting, according to Montclair Local. Kathleen Bennett, HPC chair, abstained due to her involvement in the revised Label Street Nomination Report. The decision, passed 5-1, will now go to Montclair Council for approval.
The Maddox + Musuko Restaurant Duo Closes in Montclair
After nearly eight months since The Maddox, a high-end steakhouse and bar, and Musuko, an open-concept Asian kitchen, opened in Montclair, the duo announced its closure via an Instagram post on Wednesday, January 3rd. There is currently no information regarding the future of the restaurants and the Glenridge Avenue space remains undetermined. Read on for what we know about The Maddox and Musuko’s closure in Montclair.
Essex County activists organized a holiday-themed rally on Christmas Eve urging a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas conflict, according to Patch. The event in Spicotta Park, South Orange, involved constructing a nativity scene in rubble, singing Christmas carols, and including attendees from various localities such as South Orange, Maplewood, Millburn, West Orange, Montclair, and Teaneck. The event was organized by the SOMA Families for Ceasefire Group which emphasized the need to stop civilian casualties and bring back hostages, planning weekly ceasefire rallies in the area.
Local Nonprofits in Montclair Receive $65K Grants from Montclair Foundation
The Montclair Foundation has granted $65,000 to 17 diverse nonprofits in the area, supporting initiatives related to mental health, education, senior care, and cultural enrichment, according to Patch. These grants aim to address community challenges and opportunities. The chosen nonprofits include Main Street Counseling Center, Montclair Ambulance Unit, and Montclair Art Museum, among others, each receiving funding for various programs and services.
Essex County’s controversial annual deer hunt will resume this year at South Mountain Reservation and Hilltop Reservation, per Patch. The hunt, scheduled on specific days in January and February, aims to manage the deer population and revitalize forest ecology by reducing numbers. County officials face criticism from environmental activists who oppose the killings, while some citizen organizations like the Hilltop Conservancy, support the cull to restore ecological balance. The hunt closures impact public access to these reservations on designated days, with deer meat from the cull donated to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. The county highlights hunting as part of a broader deer management strategy involving replanting efforts and road safety measures to reduce vehicle accidents involving deer.
Newark Air Traffic Controller Shortage Draws Strong Reaction from Lawmaker
U.S. Representative Josh Gottheimer recently visited Newark Airport’s control tower and met with the local president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association James Lovett, according to Patch. Representative Gottheimer highlighted severe staffing shortages at Newark, JFK, and LaGuardia airports, with staffing levels 30% below the minimum at just 54%. The shortage has led to concerns, including a deficit of 12,000 fully certified controllers compared to a decade ago, causing flight delays and cancellations for travelers. Josh emphasized the need for urgent hiring and training for more air traffic controllers to alleviate ongoing issues as well as the importance of bipartisan support and predictable funding in Congress to resolve the shortage issues and to improve air travel safety.
2023 Crime Statics Show Newark is Becoming A Safer Place to Live
Newark has witnessed a significant drop in violent crime by 10% in 2023, except for a 1% increase in rapes, according to Patch. Property crime and auto thefts surged by 35% and 98%, homicides declined to 47 (the lowest since 1960), and non-fatal shootings decreased by 36%. The city attributes these changes to a revamped policing approach focused on violence prevention and community partnerships. These trends align with Essex County and New Jersey’s declining crime rates, linked to measures like gun control and police reform.
NJ Congresswoman Honors Two Montclair Heroes with Awards
US Representative Mikie Sherrill has honored Madeline Gale and Reubena Spence of Montclair as part of her 2023 Heroes of NJ-11 Awards, recognizing 25 individuals for their community contributions, per Patch. Nominated by their nephew, the pair were lauded for their advocacy for LGBTQ rights, civil rights, women’s rights, and leadership roles in Out Montclair. Living or working in NJ-11, these individuals receive a congressional certificate acknowledging their impactful work within the community.
New Director Joins Succeed2gether’s Pathways Forward Program
Succeed2gether has named Yasmine Perry as the new director for its Pathways Forward Program, emphasizing her experience in education and child development, according to Patch. Yasmine aims to expand support for students and enhance educational opportunities. The program offers free mentoring, college essay writing guidance, and career planning for students from low to moderate-income families.
Developer Granted Approval to Divide Park Street Property
The Montclair planning board approved the division of 509 Park Street with a 6-1 vote at its December 18th meeting to accommodate the construction of an additional dwelling per MontclairLocal. Initially proposing to split the property into thirds, the revised plan resulted in a divided lot and a new home, raising concerns among some board members and residents about the impact on the historic neighborhood. The property, dating back to the late 19th century, holds significant historical significance, with notable figures like Paul Volcker having been associated with it.
Best of Montclair 2023 — Winners ANNOUNCED!
The wait is finally over: we have the winners for the Best of Montclair 2023! After weeks of voting and local businesses working hard for your support, we have finally closed the polls and have tallied the votes to see who has won the title, and of course the bragging rights, of being the “best” in town. Read on for the full list here.
Vigil Held at Newark Mosque After Fatal Shooting of Imam Hassan Sharif
A vigil was held at Newark’s Masjid Muhammad mosque to honor Imam Hassan Sharif, who was fatally shot outside the mosque on Wednesday morning, January 3rd, per NJ.com. Mayor Ras Baraka and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed Imam’s passing at University Hospital, and around 200 people gathered at the site, linking arms in unity where the 52-year-old was killed. The shooter remains at large after the incident on South Orange Avenue and Camden Street.
Emergency Landing of Helicopter Reported at Anderson Park
A helicopter made an emergency landing in Montclair’s Anderson Park on January 3rd, due to a mechanical issue around 1PM, according to MontclairLocal. No injuries were reported. The helicopter, which was doing work for Amtrak to Newark, landed as a precaution, due to one of its parts experiencing a malfunction. The aircraft remained in the park overnight until repairs were made before taking off again the next morning.
The Juice House Has Signage Up at 10th North Willow Street
A local brand is making its way to MTC with its fifth New Jersey location. The Juice House — a juice, smoothie, and bowl eatery — will open up a storefront in Montclair at 10 North Willow Street. The menu includes a variety of juices; smoothies; bowls with acai, pitaya, coconut, and banana bases; wellness shots; and grab + go items, with options varying by location. Read on for what we know about the Juice House coming to Essex County.
Unhoused Outreach Event Will Return to Newark
The Project Homeless Connect Day is returning to Newark at Essex County’s College Gymnasium on January 24th from 10AM to 2PM, according to Patch. The event will have free health screenings, haircuts, public assistance, and essential resources for those in need.
Mayor + Council Members Will be Elected in Montclair in 2024
Montclair Township’s 2024 municipal election is set to take place on Tuesday, May 14th, according to Patch. This year, there are many positions for reelection including mayor, two council-at-large seats, and a council seat in each of Montclair’s four wards. To run for one of the seven offices, all voters must be registered in the Township of Montclair and have been at least a one-year resident of the township or ward before Election Day. The information packet and nominating petitions will become available in the township’s clerk’s office starting on January 5th.
The Montclair Town Council has officially proclaimed January as Muslim Heritage Month, in alignment with a statewide declaration, signed by Governor Phil Murphy in April 2023, per Patch. Recognizing New Jersey’s substantial Muslim population in its extensive contributions across various fields, the resolution aims to honor and acknowledge the influence and positive impact of the Muslim community in Montclair. The declaration celebrates the significant achievements made by Muslims in shaping the township’s diversity and its multifaceted growth.
Nightjar is Officially Opening on January 12th
Photo Credit: Francesca DeRogatis
Nightjar is a new cannabis dispensary opening at 549 Bloomfield Avenue in Bloomfield on January 12th. Nightjar is a women- and minority-owned, social equity-driven cannabis dispensary led by the founders Francesca DeRogatis, Katie Covett, and Amanda Rositano. Read on to learn about Nightjar cannabis dispensary coming to Bloomfield and the team behind it.
Montclair Council Approves Temporary Budget for 2024
The Montclair Town Council approved a temporary 2024 budget in a 5-2 vote during the January 2nd meeting, according to Patch. The interim budget will remain effective until the full annual budget is introduced. As stated by interim Township Manager, Michael Lapolla, the temporary plan includes provisions for traffic safety improvements in the first fiscal quarter. Previous budget hearings involved departmental presentations outlining financial needs for the upcoming year. Additionally, monthly residents experience an increase in property taxes, with the average home valued at $631,882 in 2022, leading to a tax payment of $20,775 compared to the previous year’s $20,320.
Eleven South is Closed in Montclair
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After nearly six months of being in business, the BYOB Italian restaurant Eleven South closed in December. The restaurant, located at 11 South Fullerton Avenue in Montclair, was owned by Joseph Catalano, also the owner of Teglia Pizza Bar, known for its popular square pies that was located next door to Eleven South. Tegila Pizza Bar remains open for business as usual. Read on to learn more about Eleven South and its closing.
Indian Supermarket Subzi Mandi Set to Open Larger Store in Clifton
Subzi Mandi Indian Supermarket is opening a larger grocery and market inside the Clifton Plaza in Clifton, according to JerseyDigs. The Clifton Plaza is a multi-tenant shopping center in Passaic County, drawing about 1.5 million customers per year. The storefront will secure 16,000 square feet of the property and carries a wide selection of produce, dairy, spices, frozen and dry food items, and more. An official opening date has not yet been disclosed.
Montclair State Students Document a ‘Day in the Life’ of Montclair Through Photojournalism Project
Montclair State University’s School of Communication and Media students document the annual “Day in the Life of Montclair” project for an Intro to Photojournalism course, according to MontclairLocal. The course is taught quarterly by Professor Thomas Franklin where students are tasked with capturing feature photos of Montclair residents in various local settings.
Code Blue Activated in Newark as Cold Weather Approaches
Newark authorities activated a “Code Blue” in Newark in anticipation of cold weather forecasts, according to MSN. The Code Blue alert is active until Tuesday, January 9th as temperatures are predicted to drop to a low of 24 degrees during this time. Read on for a list of warming shelters in North Jersey from our archives.
Montclair Town Manager to Work More Hours in 2024
The Montclair Town Council voted during its January 2nd meeting to approve more hours in Montclair’s Town Manager, Michael Lapolla’s work schedule, according to Patch. Rather than working three days per week, Michael will now be working five days.
The Geraldine Dodge Foundation Is Moving Its HQ To Newark
The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation recently announced it will be shifting its headquarters from Morristown to Newark with 15 employees, per Patch. The new location will be at the historic 550 Broad Street building and feature a shared conference space available to community partners, grantee partners, and nonprofits.
New Apartment Building Proposals Move Forward In Bloomfield
During a recent Bloomfield Town Council meeting, two real estate projects were approved to move forward to the next stages, according to Patch. These projects include a proposal by Bloomfield Broad Associates LLC for a six-story multi-use development within 125 unit rentals, retail space, and on-site parking. Additionally, the council approved a resolution designating a redeveloper for another project situated at Bloomfield Avenue and Farrand Street following presentations and unanimous votes for both proposals.
Montclair Connector of Art + Society Remembered for Her Community Legacy
Mary Scotti, known as Mary Z See, was a Montclair resident who owned the 73 See Gallery + Design Studio, and passed away on December 10th, per MontclairLocal. Mary was well-known for projects around Montclair such as her involvement as co-founder of “Fresh Air Montclair,” and being a part of many groups including the Cornucopia Network of New Jersey. County Commissioner Brendan Gill plans to honor her formally with an upcoming celebration of her life as a way to remember her as the bridge between art and society.