Home Essex County 25 Essex County News Stories You Missed This Week

25 Essex County News Stories You Missed This Week

by The Montclair Girl Team
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It’s cold out there, Essex County. Time to brew up your favorite hot beverage and catch up on all the news from this week. Among the headlines: Croatian restaurant Fish Delish opens in Montclair; a historic church in Belleville holds a fundraiser; and Montclair Township leaders promise all three pools will be open this summer. Read on for more.

New BYOB Restaurant Coming to Montclair Called ’11 South’

11 South restaurant montclair

When Teglia Pizza Bar arrived on the Montclair food scene in 2021, its fluffy + flavorful square pies were the talk of the town. In its first week alone, the family-owned shop cranked out over 30 Roman-style pizzas a night and quickly became something of a pizza paradise here in Montclair. Now, this little slice of cheesy heaven is growing, as owner Joseph Catalano journeys around the corner for his next food venture, 11 South. Rooted in Joseph’s Sicilian heritage, 11 South will be a BYOB Meditteranean spot with a vibrant vibe and more expansive menu than its sister restaurant. The Montclair Girl got a chance to chat with Joseph about what to expect from 11 South, which is slated to open this spring at, you guessed it, 11 South Fullerton Avenue. Read on for more.

Work Begins on Bloomfield Parks

Two projects are now underway to improve park facilities in Bloomfield, per Patch. Improvements are being made to the baseball and softball fields at Vassar Field and Clark’s Pond South. The work is anticipated to be completed in time for the upcoming Spring 2023 opening day.

New Jersey Senate Education Committee Discusses “Student Mental Health Days” Bill

A 2022 proposal allowing students absences for mental health was taken up again this week by the New Jersey Senate Education Committee, per NJ.com. The bill, S2151, would allow students five excused absences per year for mental or behavioral health reasons. Similar bills have been passed in 12 other states. This bill is sponsored by Sen. Richard Codey (D-Essex) and Sen. Joe Cryan (D-Union), and was discussed in a committee meeting on Thursday, February 23rd.

American Dream Waterpark Closed After Structural Issues Result in Injuries

The waterpark at American Dream Mall in East Rutherford is closed for the foreseeable future after a decorative helicopter fell into the pool, per NJ.com. Four people were hurt during the incident, and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ construction office has declared the building to be an unsafe structure. An investigation is underway following the February 19th incident.

Construction Delays at NY Penn Station To Impact Commuters

Per northjersey.com, delays in construction to improve NY Penn Station will result in more headaches for commuters. The wide-ranging improvement plans will not begin for another two years, according to the developer.  The delays in beginning construction could impact the funding for the project, a claim that NY Governor Kathy Hochul denied. But, part of the plan includes an expanded and modernized train station and an additional 12 tracks for commuter trains, which many say are needed changes.

NJ Congressman Raises the Alarm on Toll Increases

george washington bridge
At a press event on Thursday, February 23rd, Congressman Josh Gottheimer raised the alarm over the possibility of increased tolls for Hudson River crossings as a result of an MTA Congestion Tax proposal.  Congressman Gottheimer is a co-sponsor of the recently proposed Anti-Congestion Tax Act with New York Republican Congressman Mike Lawler and New Jersey Republican Congressman Jeff Van Drew. The MTA Congestion Tax would add an additional burden to commuters and challenge funding for other capital improvement projects, he said.

Save the Date: NJEDA Walk in Verona Park

Verona, NJ Walk Flyer NEDA
The New Jersey chapter of the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) will host its fundraising walk in Verona Park on May 7th, 2023. Last year, New Jersey’s event was the highest-attended event nationally.  The walk will raise awareness and education for eating disorders within the community as well as provide funds to NEDA’s critical programs. There has been a surge in the prevalence of eating disorders among young people, said to be exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The NEDA Helpline has seen a 107% increase in the volume of calls, texts, and chats since the beginning of COVID. Learn more or register here.


A Croatian Fish Spot has Arrived on the Montclair Food Scene


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A post shared by Fish Delish (@fish_delish_)

There’s something new and different happening at 590 Valley Road in Montclair. Fish Delish, a fast-casual seafood restaurant, just opened its doors. The restaurant is an international project with roots in Croatia. Fish Delish was founded in 2020 on Murter, an island in Croatia. The restaurant features fresh fish served in a casual atmosphere, with homemade sauces, salads, and sides. Vesna Stamm’s nephew Stefano is the founder, and when she got the chance to visit the restaurant in person, she knew it would be a hit in the US. There are six locations throughout Croatia, and this is the restaurant’s first American location. Read on for more.

Plans Revealed for Meadowlands Development, Part of World Cup 2026 Preparations


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The business leaders behind the Meadowlands 2026 World Cup bid have revealed plans to redevelop the site of the former Izod Center, according to NJ.com. The plans include a 460,000-square-foot convention center and hotels to accommodate convention-related events. Organizers want the ambitious plans to be completed by the time the World Cup comes around in 2026.

Montclair Movie Theatre Offers Baby-Friendly Screen Times


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The Clairidge, located at 486 Bloomfield Avenue, has announced a new film event for parents of young children. The “Bring Your Own Baby” event was announced on the theater’s website. Parents and caregivers of young children are invited to see a newly released film at mid-morning time, in a theater with the lights dimmed but not off, and lower sound. “No judgment, just movies,” the announcement said.

PDFNJ Launches New Campaign to Raise Awareness about Children’s Use of Social Media


The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) recently announced a new campaign to increase awareness about children’s use of social media as well as include information on the dangers of fentanyl, dentists prescribing opioids for wisdom tooth pain, and the impacts marijuana can have on an adolescent’s developing brain. US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy recently reiterated a warning that children join social media too early and believe they should only be allowed to access platforms once they reach age 16, as social media has been shown to have a direct impact on adolescents’ mental health. This statement comes on the heels of the Surgeon General’s report released last year warning of a growing mental health crisis among young people. All of PDFNJ’s public service announcements can be found on New Jersey Transit buses, trains, PATH trains, bus shelters and billboards throughout the state.

Critics of Essex-Hudson Greenway Point out Costs, Delays

According to the New Jersey Monitor, critics of the ambitious Essex-Hudson Greenway project are beginning to sound the alarm on the project’s excessive costs and delays. They point out that the incredible costs to merely acquiring the property will delay any meaningful development, and that the project has become a magnet for pay-to-play lobbying. Others pointed out the challenges of cleaning up industrial debris from its original life as a railroad route.

Prudential Center makes $25K Donation to Non-Profit Maestro Cares

Prudential Center Maestro Cares Check Donation 2.11.23

Performer Marc Antony is the founder of the Maestro Cares Foundation, a non-profit organization with a mission of improving the quality of life of disadvantaged children and communities in Latin America and the United States. Ahead of Marc’s recent performance at the Prudential Center, he was presented with a check for $25,000 for the Foundation by Prudential Center leadership, according to a press release. Since 2014, Prudential Center has donated over $375,000 to the Maestro Cares Foundation.

Montclair Restaurants Offer Special Plant-Based Menus


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Twelve Montclair restaurants will offer special plant-based menu items during March 2023. Per BaristaNet, the effort is to bring attention to plant-based eating and how it can positively impact climate change. Participants can vote for their favorite dishes throughout the event.

Accessory Dwelling Units Approved in Montclair

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) were approved by the Township Council on February 21st, per Patch. An ADU is a small building on the same property as a single-family home, such as a tiny house or cottage, that can be used as a living space. Among other things, the ordinance permitted ADUs between 300-800 square feet in size, in conjunction with one- and two-family dwellings in certain residentially-zoned areas.

Olympian Adds Designs to Montclair Skate Park


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Per Montclair Local, the Rand Park skate park in Montclair has several new additions designed by an Olympic skateboarder. Alexis Sablone visited the park on February 6th to share her designs. Skate Essex, a nonprofit that supports the Rand Park skate area, worked with the Olympic skater on the project. Skate Essex trustees Paul King and Jamie Siwinski came up with the idea after seeing a sculpture she designed in Malmö, Sweden.

Montclair Bicycle Parking Effort Underway

bike rack
An effort is underway to increase bicycle parking in Montclair according to Montclair Local. The plan will see the material from unused parking meters recycled into bike racks. In addition to reusing the materials, the project will use existing holes in the cement sidewalk, making a big reduction in the cost and effort needed to install a bike rack.

Montclair to Add Four-Way Stop at Claremont Intersection

stop sign
The intersection at Claremont Avenue and Forest Street will be getting a new traffic pattern, thanks to the addition of stop signs. Per Patch, an ordinance was approved on February 21st by the Township Council to change the intersection to a four-way stop. Stop signs will be added on both streets.

Montclair Township Promises Pools Will Open on Time

At the Montclair Township Council meeting on February 21st, promises were made that all of the city’s pools would open on time, per Montclair Local. Last year, Essex and Nishuane pools never opened, despite repeated delays in the opening date. Mountainside Pool was open all summer.  A bond was approved for $700K for repairs and upgrades, but assurances were made that the work wouldn’t begin until after Labor Day when the pools close.

Newark Symphony Hall Hosts Wu-Tang Event

Per Patch, a premiere party was held at Newark Symphony Hall for season three of the Hulu show Wu-Tang: An American Saga. The show filmed many scenes in Newark, and part of the event was a discussion about the movie and film industry and how New Jersey has become a popular destination for projects. The show’s stars answered questions and took pictures with fans.

Popular Salad Chain Sweetgreen Coming to Montclair


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Washington DC-based salad chain Sweetgreen is coming to Montclair according to a press release. Sweetgreen will be opening up at 460 Bloomfield Avenue, Units 1E and 1D, in downtown Montclair later this spring. This popular salad chain serves up a variety of salads and bowls, and is described as fresh, plant-forward, earth-friendly food. Read on for more.

Fundraiser for Historic Belleville Church

A fundraiser has begun to restore a historic church in Belleville, located at 171 Main Street. Per Patch, the church was damaged by Hurricane Sandy and has been fined by the city for its dilapidated state. The church was built in 1697 and has seen many historical moments in that time. The fundraiser is being conducted in partnership with the Belleville Historical Society and the current congregation at the church, Iglesia La Senda Antigua CLA.

Expedited TSA Hiring Event at Newark Airport

According to a press release from the agency, the TSA at Newark Airport will be holding an expedited hiring event on February 27th and 28th. The Agency is hiring Federal Air Marshals at the Newark Liberty Airport Marriott. Subsidized hotel parking will be available for applicants.

South Orange Restaurant gets New Menu, Chef

The Fox and Falcon restaurant in South Orange has a new menu thanks to its new chef and co-owner, celebrity chef David Burke. Per Patch, David Burke Hospitality Management Team has updated the menu to feature modern American and pub food, in addition to hosting regular events like trivia nights, comedy shows and live music. The restaurant is located at 19 Valley Street in South Orange.

Nominate a Montclair Teacher for the Judy Weston Award


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The Judy Weston Award for Inspired Teaching is back in Montclair after a hiatus, according to BaristaNet. The award is named in honor of former Montclair resident Judy Weston, who was an avid supporter of the Montclair Public Schools. Sixteen teachers will be awarded a $2,000 cash prize. The program is administered by the Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence (MFEE), and nominations are due by April 16th 2022.

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