The holiday season is officially upon us, which means everyone is busy — so we’ve done the work of tracking down the latest news in the Montclair and the greater Essex County + North Jersey area, so you don’t have to. Among the headlines: The MC Hotel hosts 1st NJ Pride Chamber of Commerce awards ceremony; Rutgers-Newark teacher receives National Book Award; Montclair seniors launch blitz campaign for permanent senior center; and so much more. Keep reading for all the North Jersey news you missed this week in Essex County and beyond.
The Best of Montclair 2022 Finalists Announced — Time to Vote
The finalists for the Best of Montclair 2022 Guide are in! Thank you to everyone who nominated local businesses and people in the Montclair and greater Essex County area to receive the recognition that they deserve. Those who received the most nominations in each category advanced to the top three finalists, so before anyone says so-and-so was robbed, remember: we make the rules, we don’t pick the finalists. Click here to cast your vote.
Dasher’s Light Show in Newark Returns for Christmas 2022
The ever-popular ‘Dasher’s Light Show’ in Newark has returned for the holiday season, per Patch. The drive-thru experience features flashing lights set to music and glittering decorations. It takes about 30 minutes to complete the full light show.
Historic Holiday House Tour Returns to Essex County
Back for another festive season, Essex County’s Historic Holiday House Tour features 11 local historical sites, each one decorated for the holidays. According to Patch, the tour began Saturday, December 3rd and wraps up on Sunday, December 4th. The self-guided tour takes participants through sites like Essex County Kip’s Castle Park, Canfield-Morgan House + Museum, the Crane Homestead, and The Gypsy Farmhouse.
Animal Control + Montclair Police Warn Drivers of Deer Crossing
Running from October to December, deer rutting season can result in bucks darting across the road without being aware of oncoming traffic, which is why drivers need to be especially alert, Baristanet reported. In cooperation with Montclair Township Animal Control and Humane Montclair, the Montclair police department has installed signage reminding drivers to be alert and observe local speed limits.
Downton Abbey Star Hugh Bonneville Visits Montclair to Discuss New Book
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Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville attended an event in conjunction with the Montclair Literary Festival to discuss his recently published memoir. According to Montclair Local, the event was held at Temple Ner Tamid and featured a full house. CBS News senior correspondent Jim Axelrod hosted the event.
The MC Hotel Hosts 1st NJ Pride Chamber of Commerce Awards Ceremony
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The MC Hotel, located at 690 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair, played host for the 1st Annual New Jersey Pride Chamber of Commerce Gala. According to Patch, the sold-out event took place on Thursday, December 1st and celebrated the state’s most influential LGBTQ+ business owners and allied advocates.
Maplewood Middle Schooler Lands Role in Summit’s Production of ‘The Nutcracker’
The 53rd annual production of The Nutcracker in Summit has found its “Clara” — 13-year-old Lorelei Harrington-Wright. The full-length production, put on by the New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble, kicks off on Saturday. December 10th with two performances. According to Patch, the production wraps up the following day with the final two performances at 2PM and 5PM.
Rutgers-Newark Teacher Receives National Book Award
John Keene, a teacher at Rutgers-Newark, was recently awarded the National Book Award for his latest work, Punks: New + Selected Poems. According to Patch, the 234-page book also received the Lamda Literary award and the Thom Gunn Prize for Gay Poetry earlier this year.
Neighbors in Montclair, Verona, + Bloomfield Team Up to Find Lost Dog
On Sunday, November 27th, people in Montclair, Verona, and Bloomfield worked together to find a recently adopted dog who had run off from its owner, Patch reported. The Friends of the Montclair Township Animal Shelter shared the good news via Facebook, “This incredible neighborhood from Verona refused to give up hope and kept up the search ultimately finding Halo stuck in a ravine in Verona right off Grove Street!”
Friends of James Howe House Submit Offer to Purchase Historic Home
The James Howe House, also known as the Freed Slave House, was the home of the first African American to own property in Montclair. Located at 369 Claremont Avenue, the house is currently on the market for $379K. The Friends of James Howe House organization put in an offer and eventually a counteroffer of $400K with the goal of preserving this piece of local history. According to Baristanet, another offer has progressed to attorney review so it’s possible the group will not get the property.
Rolling Stones to Release ‘Ultimate Live Greatest Hits Album’ Newark Recording from 2012
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In 2012 The Rolling Stones recorded an album at a live event at the Prudential Center in Newark. The concert also featured Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, Gary Clark Jr., and The Black Keys. According to Patch, The Rolling Stones announced it will release the album early next year — the recording has not been available to the public since the event.
Students from Essex + Union Counties to Appear in ‘A Chorus Line’ 12/9
A small troupe of Essex + Union County students will be featured in the upcoming production of A Chorus Line. According to Patch, Front & Center Performing Arts will host the show on Saturday, December 9th and Sunday, December 10th. The young actors come from Berkeley Heights, Millburn/Short Hills, Scotch Plains, South Orange, Springfield, Summit, Union, and Westfield.
Montclair Seniors Launch Blitz Campaign for Permanent Senior Center + Service Director
Senior residents of Montclair have joined forces to ask for change and they’re doing it with 5,000 postcards going out to the community asking for volunteers. According to Montclair Local, the senior population makes up 26% of Montclair but less than 1% of the township’s budget goes to senior services. Seniors are calling for a permanent senior center and a dedicated senior service director.
‘Flying Taxis’ to Add 10-Minute Route From EWR to NYC
From a new terminal unveiling soon to a live snake found on a United flight in October, there’s always something going on at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). Now, we’re hearing about a new transportation option that looks to ease the commute time between NJ and NYC in future years. United Airlines along with aviation + aerospace company Archer Aviation recently announced plans to establish a ‘flying taxi’ route between United’s hub at EWR and New York City — using all-electric aircraft. Click here for what we know about these plans and what this means for locals.
Four Newark Families Become Homeowners Through Land Bank Program
As of Tuesday, November 29th, four local families officially have a house to call home, Patch reported. Two years ago the City of Newark announced the Newark Land Bank program which helps families own their own homes through a lottery system. The Section 8 program repurposes vacant, abandoned and foreclosed properties.
NJ Rep Donald Payne Warns of Impact of Possible Rail Strike
On Monday, November 28th, U.S. Representative for New Jersey, Donald Payne joined other federal lawmakers who spoke about the impacts of a possible rail strike this holiday season. According to Patch, nearly one-third of the country’s freight moves by rail. A strike would disrupt transportation of medication and other essential goods and increase food prices.
Montclair Scores Perfect 100 on Municipal Equality Index
Montclair received a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Equality Index, thanks in large part to a sweeping LGBTQ+ Equality Agenda introduced last year. According to the press release, that agenda successfully enacted new laws to protect people on the basis of gender identity and expression in township procurement and hiring practices and required that all single-user restrooms in the Township be designated as gender-neutral. The effort also included designating an LGBTQ+ Community Liaison at Town Hall, re-affirming the state’s ban on conversion therapy, flying a progress pride flag at Town Hall, and supporting LGBTQ+ teens and seniors with public programming.