Home Culture 24 Montclair + Bloomfield News Stories You Missed This Week

24 Montclair + Bloomfield News Stories You Missed This Week

by Ainsley Layland
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Every week we bring you the highlights in the news, so you can stay up-to-date on what is happening in Montclair + surrounding areas. Among the local headlines — Rosario Dawson got vaccinated at the Essex County Vaccination Center, Sabra recalls hummus shipped to NJ, Bloomfield police arrest man accused of multiple car burglaries, and so much more. Keep reading for all the news you missed this week in Montclair, Bloomfield, + beyond in Essex County:

To stay up-to-date on the launch, things to do, and weekly in the Montclair + greater Essex County area, follow @themontclairgirl on Instagram and sign up for our Montclair email list here. Email news tips to hello@themontclairgirl.com!

NJ Lifts Restrictions on Outdoor Gathering + Entertainment Venue

indoor gathering

New restrictions {or lack thereof} went into effect this week for outdoor gatherings and entertainment venues. As of Friday at 6AM, Governor Phil Murphy increased the general outdoor gathering limit to 200 individuals, according to Patch. Previously limited to 50 as a measure to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. In addition, outdoor settings including religious services, weddings, funerals, memorial services, and political activities remain uncapped.

Essex County 2021 Cherry Blossom Festival Will Be Held Virtually

cherry blossom

The 2021 Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival, traditionally held in Essex County Branch Brook Park in Newark will be held virtually this year.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted all of our lives, but it has not stopped our magnificent Cherry Blossoms from blooming! While we continue to endure through this public health crisis, we encourage you to witness this natural wonder of the world come to life this spring through our series of virtual events,” County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo told The Village Green. “Residents coming to the park to see the Cherry Blossoms should wear facemasks and practice social distancing. We are at a crucial time fighting this virus and we can not let our guard down,” DiVincenzo said.

Club Pilates Montclair to Open This Month

In a recent Instagram post, Club Pilates Montclair announced the details of their April Grand Opening. “We will be having our opening weekend April 15th {members only party} to April 18th! We are currently open for private {one-on-one} training now! We are so excited to be a part of the Montclair community!! Make sure to join NOW to get the pre-sale 20% off your first two months deal before our doors open!” The fitness studio will open at 568 Bloomfield Avenue.

Rosario Dawson Gets Vaccinated in Essex County

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. welcomed award-winning actress and philanthropist Rosario Dawson, famous for her performance in musical “Rent,” per Baristanet, to receive the vaccine. Dawson dropped by the Essex County COVID Vaccination Center at Essex County College.

“We want to make sure that every segment of our population has access to a COVID vaccination and feels safe about the process,” DiVincenzo said. “By partnering with Ms. Dawson, we are hoping to demonstrate to residents in our urban areas how safe getting the vaccination is.”

New Pizzeria ‘Mosoria’ Opens in Montclair

new pizzeria

Montclair’s South End has a new takeout spot for locals to enjoy when they are craving a slice of pizza. Click here to learn more about this new pizzeria opening in the Montclair neighborhood on Orange Road. Mosoria, owned by Zina Floyd and her husband Michael of Cafe Moso, is a takeout-only restaurant focused on providing a family-friendly environment for its customers. It is located just a block away from their first restaurant at 322 Orange Road.

Essex County Felon Sentenced Three Years in Prison for Firearm Possession

essex county jail

An Essex County man previously convicted of multiple felonies was sentenced to 36 months in prison for possessing a firearm and ammunition, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced. Sharif Clarke, of Irvington, previously pleaded guilty to count one of an indictment charging him with being a felon in possession of a weapon.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

“On December 3rd, 2018, Clarke possessed a Glock .40-caliber handgun loaded with nine rounds of Remington ammunition. At that time, Clarke had previously been convicted in Essex County Superior Court of resisting and eluding arrest and of possession of a controlled substance on school property, both of which are felonies.”

Mind Your Beads and Seeds, a Plant + Jewelry ‘Gift Garden’ Opens in Montclair

In April of 2020, Nia West-Williams found herself jobless due to the pandemic. Applying to tons of jobs with no leads, she began to pick up some hobbies during quarantine — including beading. Finding that no online websites sold unique colors of waist beads, she decided to make her own. Fast-forward a few months, she had created an Instagram page to show her work, hosted some pop-ups locally, and then decided it was time to open her own storefront. Lo and behold, about a year later, she’s the new brick-and-mortar owner of ‘Mind Your Beads and Seeds,’ a plant and jewelry gift garden — as she calls it — that just opened in Montclair at 147 D Valley Road as of April 3, 2021.

Essex County Prisons Hit 500-Dose Mark For COVID-19 Vaccines

prison vaccine

More than 500 first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given to inmates and detainees in the custody of the Essex County Department of Corrections as of Wednesday, per Patch. Some unused doses at Essex County vaccination centers, which use the Moderna version, get transported to the Essex County Hospital Center in Cedar Grove, and others get taken to the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark, which houses a mix of inmates and federal immigration detainees.

The Taste of Brazil Opens in Newark

New restaurant The Taste of Brazil has opened in Newark. In a recent Instagram post they announced their return. “A unique concept of Brazilian Restaurant is back in Newark and back for good! The Taste of Brazil is your one and only when it comes to an authentic Brazilian churrasco, with a Pride Rodízio, original burgers, and an exquisite cuisine!” The restaurant is located at 37 Merchant Street.

Montclair High School Shares Hybrid Learning Plan

hybrid plan

Montclair High School has provided a plan for hybrid school — but still doesn’t have a reopening date, per Montclair Local. Families who previously told the district they plan to continue remote learning had until Friday, April 2nd to opt-in for the hybrid plan. Families already planning to return for hybrid learning can switch to remote-only learning at any time. The hybrid plan divides students into two cohorts that will take turns attending school during the week. Mounties attend on Mondays and Tuesdays, while Bulldogs attend on Thursdays and Fridays.

The Bradford Rooftop Debuts at AC Hotel Bridgewater

the bradford

The Bradford, a brand new rooftop bar and lounge located at 600 Somerset Corporate Boulevard in Bridgewater has debuted on March 18th. With the sleek design, inspired by sophisticated and modern aesthetics, the rooftop boasts a multi-room, indoor/outdoor rooftop experience atop the AC Hotel Bridgewater. Click here to find out what to expect at this new must-visit The Bradford in Bridgewater.

Local Hero Dies of COVID-19 Complications

A Montclair man who became a local hero by pitching in when sanitation workers were hit with a COVID outbreak has died of complications from the virus, according to North Jersey. Jordan Tassy, a Montclair High School graduate who received an outpouring of community support after being hospitalized on March 15th, died earlier this week.

“Jordan exhausted himself helping his neighbors, helping the town,” Councilman Peter Yacobellis said. “He was just a lovely, lovely, lovely man.”

On recycling days, Tassy would work from “dawn to dusk” picking up recycling from homes, restaurants and shops, seniors, and the Human Needs Pantry. Tassy charged a small fee, and Councilman Yacobellis raised private funds to reimburse the nonprofit.

Sabra Recalls Hummus Shipped To NJ


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Sabra has recalled more than 2,000 cases of hummus, some distributed to New Jersey, over concerns regarding salmonella, per Patch. The recall is limited to 10-ounce containers of the brand’s “Classic Hummus” produced on February 10th with “best before” dates before April 26th. The product in question was distributed to New Jersey, Maine, North Carolina, and more.

9 Essex County Individuals Charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Narcotics

essex county charged

Nine Newark residents were charged for their roles in conspiracies to distribute and possess narcotics, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today. Robert Covington, Korey Smith, Jeffrey Workman, Yvonne Jackson, Carlos Stokes, Karen Gamble, and Alaa Covington, have been charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute at least 40 grams of fentanyl.

According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court: “From August 2020 through March 2021, multiple individuals were involved in selling fentanyl and cocaine in an open-air narcotics market in Bradley Court Housing Complex in Newark. These individuals comprise at least two separate drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs), which have overlapping membership.”

Shop and Son Opens on Church Street in Montclair


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A post shared by Montclair, NJ (@hellomontclair)

Shop and Son is Church Street’s newest “concept shop,” the brainchild of mother AND son duo Beth & Ben Stricof. Last year, Ben was living in Manhattan working in entertainment; when the pandemic hit, everything came to a halt. His parents tried to persuade him to move to New Jersey, which gave Ben to get the idea to get a puppy, per @hellomontclair. He recalls thinking “no matter what, I’m going to adopt a puppy. I’m going to move home and raise him in New Jersey. So that’s what I do. I adopt a puppy and I named him Shlomo.” The Hello Montclair account has the full back story to how the mom-and-son duo got started.

Bloomfield Police Arrest Man Accused Of Multiple Car Burglaries

bloomfield arrest man

Bloomfield police used surveillance footage to find a man accused of committing multiple car burglaries in Bloomfield, per Patch. Bloomfield Public Safety Director Sam DeMaio commended crime scene detectives for their work, which led to the arrest of Tyquill Warren, of Newark.

Authorities released the following allegations: “On Jan. 23, Bloomfield police took a report of a stolen motor vehicle from the area of 458 Beardsley Avenue. In that same week, Bloomfield patrol officers investigated three other automobile burglaries that occurred sometime in the overnight hours. Those burglaries took place in the area of LaFrance Avenue, North 15th Street, and Floyd Avenue. On March 29, detectives responded to Mr. Warren’s Newark residence, armed with an arrest warrant and apprehended Mr. Warren without incident.”

Warren has been charged with credit card fraud, receiving stolen property and multiple counts of burglary into auto, police said.

Coronavirus Cases Up In Montclair Area Despite Vaccination Increase

covid vaccine

More than 133 million vaccine doses have been administered in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet concern persists among health experts that further progress could be slowed by pandemic fatigue, the spread of virus variants, and the relaxation of mask mandates and other preventive measures, according to Patch.

About 38 percent of New Jersey’s population 18 and older have received at least one dose and about 20 percent are fully vaccinated. New Jersey ranks sixth nationally for the percent of adults who have received at least one dose.

Bloomfield Resident Helps Create NJ Mental Health Guide

mental health

Bloomfield resident, Viviana Litovsky, was among the professional contributors to a new statewide guidebook created to help educators, schools, and parents as they address school-based mental health challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, per Essex News Daily. While work on the comprehensive guide continues, a subcommittee of the Statewide Mental Health Working Group created the “Quick Reference Mental Health Guide,” a user-friendly reference guide with links to state services, strategies, and practices to address the mental health needs of New Jersey’s students and educators.

Bloomfield Cleanup Announced for April

bloomfield cleanup

The Bloomfield Beautification Committee and the Clean Communities Program are holding a town-wide cleanup on Saturday, April 24th, per Patch. The cleanup is sponsored by the Mayor, Town Council, and the DPW and will begin at 8AM.

“Keeping our neighborhoods clean and continuing to ensure that Bloomfield remains a terrific place to live is why we hold these town-wide cleanups,” said Mayor Venezia. “This is an excellent opportunity for residents to build community and truly take ownership of the spaces in which they live. I look forward to seeing residents once again come out with us for a few hours.”

Ira Wagner Named Executive Director of Montclair Art Museum

Ira Wagner has been appointed as the new Museum Director for the Montclair Art Museum. He serves as the 10th Director since the Museum’s founding in 1914, per Montclair Art Museum. Wagner stepped in as Interim Director pending the arrival of a successor last spring, when the pandemic forced the Museum to shutter operations in March 2020 and suspend its director search. Thanks to his efforts, the exhibitions have since rebounded to pre-pandemic levels of attendance.

$129M Budget Proposed by Bloomfield Board of Education

bloomfield school budget

Bloomfield Board of Education hosted their special Budget Meeting on March 16, with a proposed budget of over $129M on the table for the 2021-22 academic year, per Tap Into. The budget consists of $118,774,317 from the general fund; $7,782,831 in special revenue; and a debt service of $2,456,071. The budget represents a $10M increase compared to the present years’ school budget.

Vandals Cause $10K Of Damage To Bellevue Theater In Montclair

bellevue theater

A recent vandalism incident at the former Bellevue Theater in Montclair may cost up to $10,000 in damages, per Patch. According to the Montclair Police Department, officers responded to the theater on Saturday after getting a report about a burglary and vandalism that took place “sometime in the past month.”

“The owners of the building stated that they were checking on the property and discovered that an unknown person(s) managed to make entry into the building,” police stated. “Once inside, they observed graffiti throughout the theater, most of which was unreadable.”

Notification Required for Juvenile Marijuana Offenses

marijuana guardian notification

Thanks to a new measure signed into law, parents/guardians will now be notified the first time their underage child is caught using or possessing marijuana or alcohol.  under a measure signed into law on Friday by Governor Phil Murphy. Once the adult-use marijuana bill was passed, the opposition called into question the ability to prevent youth from accessing marijuana and other substances still illegal to minors, according to Tap Into.

“It is important to remember that it is still illegal for minors to possess or consume marijuana, alcohol and other substances in New Jersey,” said Greenstein, who serves as Chairwoman of the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee. “Parents should be notified of their children’s possession or consumption of drugs and alcohol. They have a right to know about any offenses to ensure that their children are safe.”

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