Home Essex County 20 Essex County News Stories You Missed This Week

20 Essex County News Stories You Missed 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. Among the highlights: a Montclair fourth-grader supports her community; Bloomfield is on the hunt for an official town flower; and Newark Airport TSA officers intercepted an armed passenger. Read on for more.

Montclair’s Vanguard Theater Receives Grant


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The Ivy at Chatham

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The Vanguard Theater, located at 100 Bloomfield Street, received an unusual birthday present this year. The gift was a grant from Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand in honor of the basketball star’s 60th birthday. Per BaristaNet, the grant will be used to support and nurture original and new works that inspire audiences to think critically about existing social and cultural narratives. Submissions are requested for this program, which is called Illuminating New Voices.

Kitchen Fire Damages Bloomfield Diner

An overnight fire in Bloomfield damaged the Nevada Diner, located at 293 Broad Street, per TapInto. The fire originated in the kitchen and was extinguished in the early morning hours on Monday, February 27th. The diner, which opened in 1981, had to close temporarily. There were no injuries.

Montclair Fourth Grader Makes an Impact

Jayla Pitts, a Montclair fourth-grader, is already making an impact on her community through her charitable efforts. According to Patch, Jayla was inspired by an experience volunteering at a homeless shelter on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2021. She went on to start an effort to raise money and collect supplies for women in the shelters to feel more beautiful. This year was Jayla’s second time making Valentine’s Day donations. With the support of friends, neighbors, and the community, Jayla was able to support 450 women and girls in shelters in North Jersey, including in Montclair, through Cornerstone House of the Salvation Army, Brave House and Family Promise.

Montclair Police Meet with Recovery Providers in Support of Operation Hope

Operation Hope, an initiative launched by the Montclair Police in January 2023 to support those suffering from addiction, hosted a meeting this week with other law enforcement leaders and recovery experts from across New Jersey, per BaristaNet.  During the meeting, recovery providers presented their facility to officers and other law enforcement leaders, offering resources and information about connecting patients with support services.

Maplewood Resident Makes Second Jeopardy Appearance

Maplewood resident Dan Oxman made his second appearance on the trivia show Jeopardy this week. Dan was on Jeopardy as part of a High School Tournament Reunion, per Patch. He originally appeared in 2018, and won $5,000 during this week’s appearance. Another Maplewood teen was on Jeopardy in 1988, David Javerbaum.

H-Mart Opens at American Dream Mall

H-Mart, an Asian grocery store, recently opened its newest location at the American Dream Mall in East Rutherford. According to Jersey Digs, this location is 38,000 square feet. H-Mart is known for its imported Asian products, fresh produce, and prepared foods.

Montclair State University Announces its new ‘Pupscot’

Pebbles, a mini chocolate golden doodle, is the newest addition to the team at Montclair State University. According to a press release from the University, Pebbles will eventually begin training to become a service dog. In the meantime, she will be on campus for students to pet, snuggle, and relax with as they might miss their pets from home or just need a special boost.

Filmmakers to Focus on Montclair Youth Football

Two Montclair-based film production teams have announced plans to make a documentary about Howard Finney III, known as Coach Finney, who founded the Montclair Cobras Junior Athletic program in 1969, per BaristaNet. Several hundred Montclair youth participated in the program, and the filmmakers want to highlight his impact on the players and the community. Work on the film is set to begin in Spring 2023.

Maplewood and South Orange Observe the Anniversary of War in Ukraine

Per Patch, the towns of Maplewood and South Orange hosted a celebration on Saturday, February 25th, to honor the one-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine. Maplewood Mayor Dean Dafis and South Orange Village President Sheila Collum gave remarks, and several local leaders of religious organizations were included. Ukrainian music was played at Maplewood Town Hall was lit in the colors of Ukraine.

Bloomfield Seeks to Name Town Flower

The town of Bloomfield wants to name an official town flower. Per Patch, the Bloomfield Beautification Committee has launched an online poll where residents can vote for their favorite local flower. The winning flower will be planted in the town’s public gardens, and residents will be encouraged to plant them in their own gardens. Residents can view the choices and vote here.  The winning flower will be announced in April.

Montclair Brewery Hosts Fundraiser for Howe House

A fundraiser at Montclair Brewery, located at 101 Walnut Street, raised money for the Friends of Howe House according to TapInto. A special brew was created to support the effort, and a portion of sales from the event and future purchases of the beer will go to the organization.  The beer is a Belgian-style ale.

Essex County Man Charged with Mail Theft, Other Crimes

According to a press release from the US Attorney General’s office, an Essex County man has been indicted on charges stemming from a two-year-long scheme to steal and alter checks from the mail and fraudulently obtain funds from banks by depositing the stolen and altered checks. Baba Diakite, of East Orange, was charged on February 22nd with several crimes including bank fraud.

Montclair State Hosts ‘Ask a Governor’

On February 22, 2023, Montclair State was host to a live edition of ‘Ask the Governor,’ a session in which Governor Phil Murphy took questions from students and viewers from around the state during the broadcast. According to a press release, the topics included gun safety and mental health, public transportation, affordability, and equity.  Governor Murphy interacted with several students during his time on campus.

Newark TSA Agents Intercept Armed Passenger

A December 2022 incident at Newark Airport has led to the arrest of a Bergen County man on a series of weapons and fraud charges, according to a press release from the US Attorney General’s office. On December 30, 2022, Seretse Clouden was traveling from Newark Airport to Fort Lauderdale, FL. During a luggage screen, TSA agents found several weapons, documents with a false identities, and false law enforcement credentials.  Mr. Clouden is being held without bail until his trial.

Montclair State Students Nominated for College Television Awards

Two teams of Montclair State University students have been nominated for the College Television Awards, presented by the Television Academy Foundation, per TapInto. The 17 students participated in two productions, Focus: Disruption—Moving Forward and New Orleans/Raging Storms, which are nominated in the News category. Winners will be announced during a celebration on April 1, 2023 in Hollywood.

Friends of the Howe House Announce Fundraiser, Community Efforts

The Friends of the Howe House successfully purchased the historic home, located at 364 Claremont Avenue in Montclair, and now the organization has announced a series of fundraising efforts to keep the momentum going. According to Patch, on Thursday, March 9th, an art auction will take place. The art is inspired by the journey to freedom. The event will be held at the Berkshire Hathaway office at 695 Bloomfield Avenue from 5PM to 8PM. On Saturday, March 18th, the Friends of the Howe House will host a community conversation about the future of the home. The conversation will be from 1PM to 4PM at 1 Pine Street, in the conference room.

Block-Long Apartment Building Approved in Newark’s Ironbound

The Newark zoning board approved a new development that will be one city block in length, per JerseyDigs. The building will be located at 514 Mulberry Street and have 367 residential units. The developers have requested a zoning variance to have the exterior styled like brownstones.

MSU, Bloomfield College Merger Results in Some Cuts

At least ten faculty and 12 staff members will not have jobs on the work is complete to merge Bloomfield College and Montclair State University. Per Patch, the impacted staff and faculty were notified that they wouldn’t have jobs with the organization once the merger is completed on June 30th.

Montclair Councilman Denies Accusation of Conflict of Interest

Montclair Council Peter Yacobellis pushed back on accusations that he has a conflict of interest in the Lackawanna redevelopment project, based on his role as the director of Out Montclair. Per Montclair Local, at a February 21st council meeting, residents posed the question. The council tabled the matter to be discussed in an executive session.

New Jersey Stop & Shops Pull Water

New Jersey locations of Stop & Shop grocery stores have pulled gallon jugs of water from the shelves following the chemical spill in Ohio. According to Patch, the Acadia-branded gallon jugs of water were pulled as a precautionary measure. The gallon jugs are produced in the same county in Ohio where the train derailment and chemical spill took place. While no pollutants were found in the products, the company will continue to test.

Newark Native gets Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame


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Newark native Michael B. Jordan, an actor starring in and directing the upcoming release of Creed III, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. According to Patch, the ceremony was held on Wednesday, March 1st.  He is a graduate of Newark Arts High School.

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