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25 Essex County News Stories You Missed This Week

by The Montclair Girl Team
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Another summer week is in the books and there’s never a dull moment in Essex County, which is why we cover the news in the Montclair and greater Essex County area so you don’t miss a beat. Among the headlines: Newark airport reaches record cancellations as Amazon plans collapse; Montclair officially named second Monarch City in New Jersey; Maplewood teen launches healing video game club + summer camp; and so much more. Keep reading for all the news you missed this week in Essex County and beyond.

NJ’s Heat Wave: Where to Find Cooling Centers in Essex County

nj cooling centers

New Jersey is once again currently undergoing a dangerous heat wave with temperatures expected to hit 95 – 100 degrees over the next few days, triggering heat advisories — and air quality alerts — in much of the state. Beyond discomfort, the skyrocketing temperatures can pose a serious health hazard. To help keep the community safe, local counties have established designated communal cooling centers in Essex County and beyond. Click here to read where to find cooling centers in Essex County and throughout Northern New Jersey to help keep cool during the heat wave.

The Ivy at Chatham

Newark Airport Reaches Record Cancellations as Amazon Plans Collapse

newark airport

For many, the summer months are full of opportunities to get away and travel. If you’re planning on traveling this summer, you may be spooked hearing about lost luggage, canceled and delayed flights, long security lines, and otherwise hectic traveling circumstances. This chaos is not unique to New Jersey and has impacted many major local airports, though you may be wondering why Newark Airport has been particularly rough recently. Unfortunately for us local to Newark International Airport, EWR has been hit really hard with a record number of flight cancellations. In addition to these record cancellations, we took a look into other happenings at EWR including the now halted plans of an Amazon cargo hub. Click here to read about Newark International Airport’s record delays alongside the collapse of Amazon cargo plan hubs.

SOPAC Announces First Fully In-Person Season Since Pandemic


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A post shared by South Orange PAC (@sopacnow)

SOPAC officials announced the upcoming season of events, the first fully in-person season since the start of the pandemic. The press release reads, “SOPAC persevered through two and a half years of closures due to COVID-19 and Hurricane Ida remediation before fully reopening the Jennifer and Tony Leitner Performance Hall last spring. The venue has a new stage and orchestra pit, freshly painted walls and modern carpeting throughout the building, including The Herb + Milly Iris Gallery.” The 2022-2023 lineup includes grammy winners Judy Collins, Peabo Bryson, George Porter Jr., Bela Fleck, and Paula Cole.

Archdiocese of Newark Nominates Hoboken Resident as Teacher of the Year

The Archdiocese of Newark has nominated Juliette Wester, a history teacher at Seton Hall Preparatory School, for the New Jersey Council for American Private Education 2022 New Jersey Nonpublic School Teacher of the Year Award. According to the press release, this award is a prestigious title the organization awards annually to a teacher who exhibits outstanding dedication, knowledge and skill for his or her craft, while simultaneously demonstrating respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues.

Mixed-Use Building in Montclair’s Watchung Plaza Hits Market at $2.5M

watchung montclair

Located at 127 Watchung Avenue in Montclair, a mixed-use building in Watchung Plaza recently hit the market at $2,499,000, according to Patch. The building consists of 8,000 square feet and houses both residential and retail units. Current businesses in the building include Dot Reeder Boutique, Bob Fraser Locksmith, Raven Color Studio, Yarnia, Well-Founded Barbershop, and Oro Hair Salon.

US Department of Transportation Secretary Joins Ground Breaking in Kearny

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg joined local officials at a groundbreaking event in Kearny, reported Hudson County View. The project includes an overhaul of the Portal North Bridge, made possible by a $1.6B contract via NJ Transit.

Local Non-Profits Awarded $75K Grants


Three local nonprofits have received $75K in grant funding from The Jewish Women’s Foundation of New Jersey, per Essex News Daily. Each organization works to support women and girls. The JWFNJ has awarded more than $1.3M since its inception in 2007.

All-Gender Bathrooms at Newark Airport Make List of America’s Best Restrooms


Cintas Corporation recently recognized businesses with innovative restroom facilities in a “America’s Best Restroom” contest, according to Patch. The all-gender bathrooms at the Newark International Airport made the final cut. Voting is open until Friday, August 26th.

Montclair BOE Makes Multiple Changes Following Calendar Approval 

montclair BOE news

Following approval given in May 2021, the Montclair Board of Education has made a few rounds of changes to the school calendar, causing confusion among faculty and parents, per Montclair Local. Changes have included dates for the first day of school, last day of school, spring break, and when certain holidays will be observed on the calendar. In a board meeting held on Monday, July 25th, two members of the school board acknowledged the lack of communication regarding the changes.

Essex County Mom of 4 Releases Book Inspired by Daughter with Down Syndrome


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A post shared by Taryn Lagonigro (@mindfullytaryn)

Local mom Taryn Lagonigro recently started her own publishing company and launched a book she wrote inspired by her youngest daughter who has Down Syndrome, according to Patch. The book is titled “Ups, Downs, and Silver Linings” and focuses on the challenges and successes Taryn has experienced in recent years.

NJ Transit Calls for Commuter Input on Newark Penn Station Renovations


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A post shared by Ming 林協和 (@mingtheace)

Newark Penn Station is slated for major renovations in 2023 and NJ Transit is asking commuters to weigh in on the changes, according to NJ.com. The first of three public meetings will be held on Tuesday, August 9th. The $191M project will include restoration and rehabilitation projects of the historic train station.

Montclair Officially Named 2nd Monarch City in New Jersey

Montclair monarch

On Saturday, July 20th, the Northeast Earth Coalition announced Montclair has officially been named Monarch City by Monarch USA. According to Baristanet, Montclair is the second Monarch City in New Jersey, Long Branch being the first, and the fifth in the mid-Atlantic region.

Montclair Vigil Honored 77th Anniversary of Hiroshima + Nagasaki Bombings

montclair student funeral

A candlelight vigil was held in Montclair to honor the lives lost during the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings during World War II, per Patch. The community was invited to attend the event from 5PM to 6PM on Friday on Bloomfield Avenue between South Fullerton Avenue + Church Street.

Newark’s Urby Complex to Welcome New Eatery


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A new eatery appears to be moving forward with opening in the soon-to-be-completed Urby complex in Newark, according to Jersey Digs. A company named 155 Washington Cafe LLC applied to transfer a pocket liquor license to the new space which will house a 65-seat restaurant.

Mayor’s Back-to-School Party to Include Book Bag Giveaway


On Sunday, August 28th, the Mayor of Bloomfield + City Council will host a Back-to-School Party, which will include a new backpack for early registrants. According to Baristanet, the event will take place at Felton Field, located at 145 Floyd Avenue in Bloomfield, from 12PM to 3PM. The party will include food, games, music, and an additional book bag giveaway for Pre-K through 8th grade students.

Montclair Group Hosts Night Out for Public Safety Event


On Tuesday, August 2nd, the Montclair Area Solidarity Network (MASN) hosted a community safety event called Night Out for Safety and Liberation, per Montclair Local. The event coincided with Montclair’s National Night Out. MASN is a collaboration between multiple local organizations which started gathering in 2020 for local marches and video conferences regarding public safety.

Maplewood Teen Launches Healing Video Game Club + Summer Camp

maplewood teen games

Maplewood teen Jesiah Owens recently launched a video game club with the intent to spread joy to his peers through Play Therapy, reported Patch. Jesiah first realized the power of play when he was a patient at John Hopkins Children’s Hospital. He founded Side Quest Magazine, an online publication, and Side Quest Club House which also recently began hosting a digital summer session for local kids interested in writing, publishing, and gaming.

Studio Montclair Opens New Exhibit Featuring Faculty Art

Local art gallery Studio Montclair recently opened a new exhibit called “It’s Academic,” per Baristanet. The new show opened on Saturday, July 30th and features artwork of 12 faculty members from the Art Academy. The exhibit will be open to the public through Friday, August 26th at 127 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair.

NJ Hall of Fame Inductees Include Max Weinburg, Chelsea Handler, + More

The NJ Hall of Fame has announced its Class of 2022 members, per NJ Arts. This newest group includes Max Weinberg, who will be the third E Street Band member included; talk show host Chelsea Handler; Ron Jaworski, a former Eagles quarterback; the late Richard J. Hughes; and Olympic soccer medalist Heather O’Reilly.

Essex County Reports Second Most Monkeypox Cases in NJ

health official

As of Wednesday, August 3rd, there were 175 known cases of monkeypox confirmed in the state of New Jersey, reported Patch. Among the information included in those reports show that Hudson County has the highest number of cases, with Essex County ranked second.

LavaLove® to Launch Mobile Shower Services in Essex County

lava love shower

Essex County is officially home to the first LavaLove® mobile shower units in New Jersey, according to Tap Into. These mobile units will be open three days a week and include showers, sinks, toilets, and washing machines + dryers for sheltered and unsheltered unhoused individuals in the area. The ribbon cutting event took place on Thursday, August 4th in Orange.

Risk of COVID-19 Increases in Essex County

covid pills

According to Tap Into, local officials recently announced that the risk of COVID-19 in Essex County has risen from medium risk to high risk. Essex County is one of 18 New Jersey counties with recent spikes in case numbers. West Orange Director of Health + Welfare recently made the announcement in a press conference.

South Orange + Maplewood School District to Limit Bussing

school bus

Beginning this fall, two New Jersey school districts will stop offering bus services to students who live within two miles of the school, per Politico. The South Orange + Maplewood School District has expressed concerns over budget constraints claiming this is one way to resolve those issues. A concern among families is access to school for those who don’t own a car, need to cross busy roads, or are limited due to parents’ work schedules.

Taverna Veranda in Edgewater Debuts New Brunch Menu


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A post shared by Taverna Veranda (@tavernaveranda)

Located at 725 River Road in Edgewater, Mediterranean restaurant Taverna Veranda has debuted a new brunch menu. The new fare includes dishes like Bread Pudding French Toast, Crab in a Bun, Benedict “Veranda’s Way,” Pulled Pork Gyro, and a classic Shakshuka. A few favorites will remain on the menu including Tzatziki, hummus, fava and spicy feta. Brunch is available on Saturdays and Sundays from 12PM to 3PM.

Violence Intervention Leaders Call for More Funding for Hospital Programs

montclair hospital

Hospital-based violence intervention programs are seeking more funding to continue providing support to victims of violent crimes who have been discharged from the hospital, reported Tap Into. Last month, the Attorney General announced that grant funds would not be renewed beyond September. Following efforts on the part of these local groups, that grant was extended through June 2023. The HVIPs are seeking funding to support efforts once the grant ends next summer. 

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