If you’re curious to know what you missed this week in Essex County news, we’ve got you covered. Among the local headlines: Zoo-vies return to Turtle Back Zoo; recall petition for Cedar Grove Board of Education member reaches 3,000 signatures; Uncle Willie’s Wings expands; and so much more. Keep reading for all the news you missed this week in Essex County + beyond.
Santokh Yoga Opens in Montclair
Santokh Yoga opened July 14th at 18 Lackawanna Plaza in Montclair. The studio has two large practice studios — including a hot yoga room — as well as an infrared sauna, shower rooms, a lounge area, and more. Though not every class is on the schedule just yet, Santokh will feature classes in hot yoga, Vinyasa yoga, restorative yoga, prenatal yoga, Kundalini, meditation, and more. Currently, the studio has a promotion where you can try a class out for $15 or get a bundle of 3 classes for $30.
Bloomfield Repairs 600+ Potholes
In an effort dubbed “Pothole Week,” crews in Bloomfield repaired 665 potholes throughout the town. Per Patch, the crews used over 10 tons of asphalt to make the repairs. The work was done as part of the town’s new initiative, Clean & Strong Bloomfield.
The Boss is Back: Bruce Springsteen to Perform in Newark
The pride of New Jersey, Bruce Springsteen, will return to Newark for his first hometown performance in over seven years. Per NJ.com, The Boss and the E Street Band will make a stop in Newark as part of a 2023 world tour. The show will be on April 14th, 2023. Tickets go on sale later in July. Other nearby dates include Madison Square Garden in New York on April 1st, Barclays Center in Brooklyn on April 3rd, and the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on March 16th.
Planned Amazon Hub in Newark is Canceled; Neighbors Speak Out
After over a year of negotiations, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Amazon have been unable to come to an agreement on the proposed air cargo hub at Newark Liberty Airport. The deal has been canceled, according to NJBiz.com, and now neighbors are speaking out. Per the New Jersey Monitor, citizen groups who had opposed the deal based on environmental concerns, labor rights issues, and lack of transparency in the dealmaking are celebrating the end of the deal, calling it a victory for New Jersey’s citizens.
Cashless Tolling Takes Effect on the GW Bridge
As of July 10th, 2022, cashless tolling is in effect on the George Washington Bridge. Drivers without an EZ-Pass will receive tolls by mail. According to a press release from PayNJ, The tolling equipment was installed at the GWB’s upper level of in October 2021, with the lower-level installation completed in January 2022. Crews completed setup and configuration for the new tolling system in April 2022, while calibration and testing were finalized in June 2022. Once the system is activated, drivers will not need to stop or slow upon approaching the GWB toll booths.
Winning Lottery Ticket Sold in Westfield
A Westfield gas station sold a winning $50,000 lottery ticket last week. Per Patch, the Amaco, located at 412 Central Avenue, sold the ticket that matched four out of the five numbers in the NJ Lottery drawing that took place on Tuesday, July 12th. The $50,000 prize is the third-tier prize in the drawing.
State of New Jersey Introduces Mental Health Emergency Number
The Federal Communications Commission recently approved a new 3-digit dialing code, 988, for mental health crisis and suicide prevention. The State of New Jersey joined the rest of the country in introducing the new emergency phone number, 988, for mental health support and suicide prevention. The program in New Jersey is managed by the New Jersey Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Residents nationwide can call 988 to be connected to Lifeline crisis centers.
Spotted Lanternfly Update
According to Patch, the lifecycle of the spotted lanternfly is about to hit one of its final stages. In July, the black nymphs seen in prior months become predominantly red, while the adults begin to appear, according to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. Residents are encouraged to kill as many of the lanternflies as possible, as they are an invasive species that will damage agriculture, plants, and trees.
Boat Accident on the Hudson Claims Two Lives
The NYPD, FDNY, and the NY Waterway service teamed up on Tuesday, July 12th to respond to reports of a capsized boat in the Hudson River. The incident occurred close to Pier 79 near the Midtown Ferry Terminal around 3PM. Twelve people were involved in the accident, including the boat’s captain. Sadly, two people died in the accident.
Maplewood Considers Gun Ban
The Maplewood Township Committee is considering an ordinance that would prohibit people from being able to carry guns in public, per TapInto. The conversation was sparked by a recent Supreme Court decision limiting state gun laws. Maplewood Mayor Dean Dafis praised Gov. Phil Murphy for signing several gun bills into law, but expressed, “I’m still very concerned and I want to know what we can do here locally.”
Recall Petition in Cedar Grove Nets 3,000+ Signatures
A petition to recall Cedar Grove Board of Education member Christine Dye has reached more than 3,000 signatures, per TapInto. While Christine Dye has served on the Board of Education for the past 11 years, she has been involved in several challenges over the past two years, including overseeing a survey that was sent to students without parental consent. The next step is for the petition to be certified by the Essex County Clerk’s office.
Zoo-vies at Turtleback Zoo Return
On select Wednesday evenings in July and August, movies will be shown outdoors at the Turtleback Zoo. Admission to the zoo is not required. Doors open at 7:30PM and the movie will begin as soon as it gets dark. Some of this summer’s selections include Moana, Big Hero 6, and Mulan.
Montclair Starbucks Employees to Vote on Unionization
Employees at the Montclair Church Street Starbucks location, at 40 South Park Street, will vote later this summer on whether to join Starbucks Workers United, the union for the chain’s employees. If the workers agree to join the union, the Montclair location will be the fourth Starbucks location in the state to unionize, per Montclair Local. Votes were mailed out this week and are due back by August 5th.
Basking Ridge Playwright Makes Local Debut
The Theater Project, a small non-profit professional theatre with a focus on emerging artists, hosts Three Plays in Three Months this summer. One of the plays is the local debut of Basking Ridge playwright Mary Jane Walsh. Per Patch, the play is about the challenges faced by aging people and their caretakers. The performances will take place at Maplewood’s Burgdorff Cultural Center, 10 Durand Road in Maplewood.
Montclair Microgrid Moves Forward
According to Montclair Local, the Montclair Township Council members approved and awarded a contract to Shoreline Energy Advisors for Phase 2 of the Town Center Distributed Energy Resources Microgrid Design Incentive Program. The microgrid is part of effort by the town to create alternative energy sources in case of emergency. A microgrid would be able to provide power to emergency facilities. The site selected during the Phase 1 study was Mountainside Hospital. From there, the microgrid would be able to power other emergency facilities like one of the town’s water bureau wells and treatment facilities, and other places of refuge that are nearby the hospital.
Masks Again Recommended for Some NJ Counties
According to the CDC, nine counties in New Jersey are once again at risk for medium-to-high spread of COVID. Per NJ.com, the reported cases in all of New Jersey are at over 5,000 since the January 2022 Omicron wave. Masks are recommended to be worn in indoor spaces and on transportation in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Gloucester, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, and Sussex Counties, which are designated as ‘high risk,’ per the CDC. The ‘medium risk’ counties are: Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Union, and Warren.
Montclair Public Library Hosts Digital Art Show
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A digital art show designed by artist and activist Melanka Coppola was unveiled at the Montclair Public Library. Melanka is a first-generation Ukrainian-American, and much of the exhibit examines the occupation of Ukraine, according to BaristaNet. Melanka is a professional artist who studied at Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts. The proceeds from pieces sold in conjunction with the exhibit will go to Ukrainian relief efforts.
Winning Lottery Ticket Sold in Maplewood
The 7-11 located at 490 Valley Street in Maplewood was the site of history earlier this week. A lottery ticket with a winning combination of numbers to win $17.3 million was sold there on Monday July 11th, according to Patch. The store will get $10,000 bonus from state lottery officials for selling the ticket.
Car Part Thefts Continue in Bloomfield
Bloomfield police warn that thefts of catalytic converters and other expensive car parts are on the rise, according to Patch. This follows a nationwide trend in car part theft, as the price for the precious metals used in these parts has increased over time. Police reported four incidents alone the week of July 4th, including one where a theft in progress was interrupted by police.
Uncle Willie’s Wings to Launch Two New Locations
Newark-based Uncle Willie’s Wings is expanding, per Jersey Digs. The original location at 1036 Bergen Street is undergoing a renovation. A new location at 113-115 Halsey Street will be the site of Uncle Willie’s Bar and Grill, a larger and more formal space. And a third location will be opening later this year at The Junction, part of the Gateway development in downtown Newark. Owner Walter “Willie” Green is an Army Veteran who became known for his kindness and meal donations to workers during the pandemic.
Walter won a contest to earn the spot in the Gateway Center. A partnership between Onyx Equities, the owner of part of the complex, and Newark Working Kitchens, a Newark-based partnership to keep restaurants working and residents fed during the pandemic, was created to ensure that a locally-grown restaurant would be represented in the project. Out of 30 applicants, Uncle Willie’s Wings was selected as the winner. According to ROI-NJ.com, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said, “To see Walter Green go from feeding his Newark neighbors during the pandemic to thriving and winning the restaurant buildout competition is an incredible joy.”
Bloomfield Center Hosts Food Tour
On Saturday, July 16th, Bloomfield Center hosted a Food Tour highlighting the best of the neighborhood. Stops included old and new favorites, including 7 Doors Down Ramen, So Juicy!, and Bloomfield Steak & Seafood. Participants got to meet and talk with restaurant leadership and learn more about the behind-the-scenes operations.
Rare Baseball Card Found in Millburn
Vintage Breaks is a card collecting company that is in the process of opening its Millburn showroom at 296 Millburn Avenue. The company specializes in what’s called ‘card breaking,’ which is when someone opens a pack of trading cards live on the Internet. Last week, per Patch, a customer who had purchased a box of cards found an extremely rare baseball card among the lot, an autographed card of pitcher Mike Trout. The card is estimated to be worth well into the five figure range.
New Jersey Well Represented at 2022 Emmys
Many Garden State residents, past and present, will represent their home state at the 2022 Emmy Awards. In categories from comedy to drama, and both in front of and behind the camera, New Jerseyians are included in many of this year’s nominations, per NJ.com. There are familiar names, like Montclair’s Stephen Colbert, and some newcomers, including dancer Kiara Mooring from Ewing, who was a participant on the Amazon reality series, Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Girls, which was nominated for six Emmys.