If you’re curious to know what you missed this week in Hoboken + Jersey City news, we’ve got you covered. Among the local headlines: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has officially announced that the mask mandate in schools will be lifted on March 7th; a limited time Black History Month-inspired craft beer is available at the Montclair Brewery; employees at a local medical marijuana dispensary have formed a union, and so much more. Keep reading for all the news you missed this week in Hoboken, Jersey City + beyond.
Finalists of Montclair Girl‘s Puppy Bowl 2022 Announced
Following the impossible task of deliberating the cutest pups in Essex County, the top nine finalists for our 1st Annual Montclair Girl Puppy Photo Bowl 2022 have been chosen!
Voting will take place through today, Sunday, February 13th at 11:59PM, and the winner will be announced on Tuesday, February 15th. You can vote as many times as you want until then.
Montclair Musician Releases Album for Mental Health Support
Longtime Montclair resident and musician Jason Didner has released an album of rock songs design to support mental health. “This new album of rock songs called Salt + Sand: Rock Songs to Heal the Mind, is intended to provide listeners the same mental health support their creations have given me,” Didner told Montclair Girl. “I just released the album last Friday and am giving online concerts and interviews to raise awareness of the new collection of music.”
Financial Aid Now Available to Montclair Businesses
Two new programs have been put into place to help Montclair businesses struggling to stay afloat. The Small Business Lease Grant, which launched in October 2021, and the Small Business Improvement Grant, which launched Thursday, February 10th can be applied for via njeda.com. Through the lease grant, a business or nonprofit can receive up to two awards, each for up to 20% of its annual payment for a new lease.
Vesa Brides to Close Nutley Location, Open in Montclair
Vesa Brides has been a staple in Nutley for 10 years but has outgrown its current space, prompting a move to Montclair. “Our second-floor suite near the Wellmont Theatre will still cater to our brides with personal private appointments in addition to a full line of accessories and engagement dresses and Mother of the Bride gowns,” the owner, Veronica Castro told Montclair Girl. “Vesa will also continue to provide in-house alterations with our personal touch. As we do love our Nutley peeps, we just couldn’t find the space we needed to give our clients the service we feel is needed in their search for the perfect dress.” Read more here.
Essex County Nursing Home Operator Arraigned for Tax Fraud
Joseph Schwartz, a former nursing home magnate, was charged last month in a multi-million dollar federal tax fraud scheme and was arraigned in court on Monday, February 7th, per NJ.com. He entered a not guilty plea to charges that, if convicted, could send him to prison for up to 10 years. The case will continue until May 6th.
Montclair Brewery Honors Iconic Legends with Black History Month Ale
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A Black History Month-inspired craft beer will be available at the Montclair Brewery to honor legends, according to the Montclair Brewery Instagram account. This year’s series will also include the Aubrey Ale, which is brewed to honor Montclair’s local icon, Aubrey Lewis Sr., and the ThomSank Independence Ale, in honor of Thomas Sankara, who was Burkina Faso’s former president and leader. These drinks will also be available in its taproom.
Montclair Film Names Beth Gottung As New Executive Director
On Monday, February 10th, Montclair Film announced that Beth Gottung will join the organization as Co-Head/ Executive Director on February 22, 2022, according to a press release. She will serve alongside Tom Hall, who has worked as Montclair Film’s Executive Director since 2014, and who now assumes the previously announced title of Co-Head/ Artistic Director.
Montclair Public Library Foundation Receives Grant
The Montclair Public Library Foundation has received a $10,000 grant from Investors Foundation, per Baristanet. The grant is to support the Montclair Public Library’s flagship author conversation series, Open Book/ Open Mind. This now marks the sixth consecutive year that the Investors Foundation has supported this program.
Silver Stream Studio Coming Soon to Montclair
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In an Instagram post, a local studio announced its arrival to the Montclair community. The post says, “Silver Stream Studio is coming to Upper Montclair, NJ! A full-service podcasting studio/art gallery/retailer of oddities. Look out for updates on our grand opening in March as well as future events.”
Purchase Agreement Extension Announced for New Greenway Project
There will be a new Greenway created on nearly nine miles of the former rail line in Northern New Jersey, per Baristanet. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has announced the purchase agreement has been extended from January 31, 2022, to June 30, 2022. Governor Phil Murphy announced the intent to create this Greenway in November of 2021.
Seven Cars Stolen in Montclair, Six Recovered
Montclair Police report seven cars have been stolen in Montclair over the last week and six have been recovered, according to Montclair Local. There has also been an attempted vehicle theft within the past week. The six vehicles were all found abandoned around the Montclair area.
Plans to Redraw the Fourth Ward Receive Public Opinion
Nearly a month ago, Montclair officials approved maps for the township’s four wards that would be around for the next 10 years, and it was a map that looked nearly the same as the old map, per Montclair Local. Some of the blocks originally located in the third block were redrawn to be located in the second block. There was a difference in public opinion on this choice. The committee was told they would need to meet again and make a map more similar to the one that was discussed and approved in December.
Workers at Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Montclair Form Union
Employees at a local medical marijuana dispensary have formed a union and have notched their first union contract, per Patch. A group of 22 “bud-tenders” formed a union and ratified their first work agreement. The union stated in a press release that their three-year contracts now contain critical wage and benefits enhancements.
Wallet Stolen from Employee’s Purse at Bloomfield Avenue Panera Bread
A suspect recently stole a wallet from an employee’s purse at a Panera Bread on Bloomfield Avenue, per Patch. This happened after the store was closed for the evening, but employees were still in the building. Workers told police that a man entered through the rear door and took a wallet that was in an employee’s purse.
Montclair Schools Move Ahead With Bond Referendum Plan
The Montclair Public School District will be moving forward with a plan to finance a series of building improvements, reported Patch. They will be doing this with a bond referendum. The Superintendent of the Montclair Public School District, Jonathan Ponds wrote an update on the process and said, “Once the state approves the applications, we will develop the bond issue for placement on a ballot. This is indeed exciting news.”
Montclair Local Wins Scholastic Art Silver Key Award
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A Montclair local is just one of the students to earn an award at the 2022 Scholastic Art and Writing Competition, reported Montclair Local. Ava Goyal is one of 19 students from the Academy of the Holy Angels to win an award. She won a Silver Key for her illustration entitled, “Leftovers”.
University to Issue $13 Million in Relief Payments to Students
Montclair State University will be disbursing more than $13 million in aid to students throughout the month of February, reported the University. This is from its share of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. Starting from Monday, February 7th, students will be notified of their eligibility via their MSU email to receive a portion of the funds set aside for direct payments.
Montclair Native Running for Congress
A Montclair native is running for congress and is becoming a serious primary contender for New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District, which is currently represented by Congressman Donald Payne Jr., per Tap Into. Imani Oakley is a Howard University graduate and has worked as a political staffer on the local, state, and federal levels. “New Jersey is ready for the future,” Oakley said. “I’m running as a proud progressive and our fundraising numbers show that resonates with working people: we outraised our opponent 2:1 in our first fundraising quarter with 100% of our contributions coming directly from grassroots donors.”
Montclair Education Association Requests Notice of Changes to Mask Mandates
The Montclair Education Association wants to be made aware of any changes to masking in schools, per Baristanet. This comes following the announcement that Governor Murphy made regarding the mask mandate being lifted in schools effective March 7th. MEA President Catherine Kondreck said, “Dr. Ponds has been consistent in stating to the MEA that he will keep the mask mandate in place for the duration of the school year and we hope that should that decision change, we would be consulted. We trust the Board and Superintendent Ponds to make a decision that is in the best interest of all involved and to rely on the same science and data that has determined all past safety decisions.”
New Jersey Schools Mask Mandate to be Lifted March 7th
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has officially announced that the mask mandate in schools will be lifted on March 7th, reported Baristanet. While the statewide mandate will be lifted the choice will remain open for individual schools and childcare providers to implement their own mask mandate. Murphy said they are willing to take this step due to the continuous drop in cases and hospitalizations over the past couple weeks.
Winners Named for Annual Essex County Contest
Awards have been presented to the winners of the Annual Essex County Forest Friends Feeder Contest, per NJ.com. Winners were awarded in three different categories: Group/Family, Professional, and Youth. Participants in the contest were asked to create edible, festive, and unique wetland wildlife feeders for an outdoor exhibit located at the Essex County Environmental Center and the entries were on display for the entire month of December.