Welcome back for another roundup of all the newsworthy stories you missed in Montclair + the surrounding areas. Among the local headlines: Montclair has opened three warming stations for those experiencing homelessness this winter, the Essex County’s popular Cherry Blossom Festival will be returning this year, the Montclair midtown parking deck is slated to open next month, and so much more. Keep reading for all the news you missed this week in Montclair, Bloomfield, + beyond in Essex County.
A Plant-Based + Gluten-Free Shop Opens in Montclair
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Elephant Plate, a plant-based and gluten-free shop that specializes in chef-prepared grab-and-go meals, has opened a second Essex County location at 10 Lackawanna Plaza in Montclair. Click here to read about what to expect at the new Elephant Plate store.
Umai Sushi & Steakhouse Now Open in Verona
Umai Sushi & Steakhouse held grand opening events this week. Verona Township announced the opening via Instagram saying, “Verona’s newest business featuring Omakase (chef’s choice) Sushi is now open! Umai Sushi & Steakhouse opened this week at 18 Grove Ave. Go check them out and give them a warm Verona welcome! Follow @umaisushinj for more! Open daily at 5PM.”
Local Charity Impact100 Essex Awards $100k to Butterfly Dreamz
The local charitable organization Impact100 Essex awarded its 5th annual $100,000 Impact Grant to Butterfly Dreamz, which connects girls from marginalized communities to mentorship, scholarships, and holistic leadership development through the Cocoon Club. According to the press release, the Impact100 Essex Grant will help Butterfly Dreamz cover the costs of employing high school and college interns in Essex County who work with their staff to design the Cocoon Club, facilitate engaging programs, and support their growing community.
New Seafood Restaurant Opens in Newark
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A new seafood restaurant has opened in Newark, per Patch. Snap Back by Hook & Reel has opened at the Springfield Avenue Marketplace and is a fast-casual version of the popular seafood concept Hook & Reel Cajun Seafood and Bar. The restaurant will have takeout and delivery options and will focus on providing a convenient, quick-serving dining experience.
The Partners for Health Foundation in Montclair Announce New Board Chair
Douglas Bauer has been elected to serve as board chair for 2022-2023 of The Partners for Health Foundation in Montclair. Mr. Bauer has been a Partners for Health Trustee since 2014, and most recently served as the Foundation’s Second Vice Chair and Nominating Committee Chair, per Patch.
Newark Police Recover 100+ Stolen Key Fobs
Newark police have recovered more than 100 stolen key fobs after finding three people sleeping in a stolen car, reported Patch. Officers came across two men and a male juvenile who were sleeping in a 2015 Audi, which was reported as stolen from Car Revolution in Woodbridge. The juvenile and the other suspects were charged with receiving stolen property. Officers were able to find 139 other key fobs in another stolen vehicle, which was searched with the owner’s permission.
Three Daytime Warming Centers Open in Montclair
Daytime warming centers in three different Montclair locations are now open, per Baristanet. These locations are at the Salvation Army, Toni’s Kitchen, and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Montclair, and they are open for individuals without a permanent home. These sites will be available at different times of the day, seven days a week and they will be open through April 3rd. These daytime warming centers are open through local funding and a grant from the Township Council.
Montclair Public Library to offer Public Services for Free
A trio of public services has recently launched or been restarted at Montclair Public Library, according to Baristanet. These services are free and they can be reserved for one-on-one appointments. The three services are access navigator, social work intern, and notary services. Two of the services, access navigator and social work intern, can also be available on a drop-in basis.
Montclair Resident Wakes Up to Unknown Vehicle in Driveway
A resident of Clinton Avenue said he woke up and discovered an unknown vehicle parked in his driveway, per Baristanet. The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander was determined to be a stolen vehicle from Harrison. Footage shows the car appeared in the driveway at approximately 3:35AM and there are no descriptions of the suspects.
Montclair’s Midtown Deck Opens in February
Montclair’s Midtown parking deck is expected to be reopened in mid-February, per Montclair Local. The parking deck was closed for construction in January of last year, and it will now hold almost four times as many vehicles as before with 314 public parking spots. The parking at the rooftop will be set aside at a 20% discount for downtown employees and business owners.
Montclair Planning Board Begins Hearing for Storage Facility
The Montclair Planning Board did not continue the hearing for the apartment building proposed for 10 Elm Street, reported Tap Into. The board began a hearing for the previously delayed application for a storage building on a triangular property at 103 Grove Street. This application will be a three-story self-storage facility and it will also include storage space in the basement. The apartment building was delayed after criticism of the project came from previous meetings.
Board Approves Newark’s 14-Story ‘Portnow’ Project
A plan to replace a privately owned Downtown Newark parking lot with a new development can move forward, according to Jersey Digs. The new 14-story development can move forward if the builders abide by a number of conditions the Newark Central Planning Board has put in place. One of the conditions is the developers must abide by is that they must “work with local art groups regarding proposed art murals for the project.”
Essex County’s Cherry Blossom Festival Returns in 2022
Essex County’s popular Cherry Blossom Festival will be returning in 2022, reported Patch. The festival was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus and was held virtually in 2021, though guests who wanted to go to Branch Brook Park and see the trees in bloom, could. There is a broad range of activities guests can participate in and the festival will start Saturday, April 2nd with a Cherry Blossom Challenge Bike Race.
Staff at Just Jake’s in Montclair Injured in Altercation Following Check Dispute
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Montclair police responded to Park Street bar and restaurant Just Jake’s, after receiving a call about a physical dispute, per Montclair Local. Two female patrons had been reportedly acting disorderly throughout the evening and were being escorted out when they began to attack the staff member tasked with escorting them out. The two women claimed that they had been overcharged on their check. The women reportedly hurt three staff members in the altercation.
Garbage Bags of Merchandise Stolen from Local CVS
Police say that shoplifters were able to fill up garbage bags full of merchandise at the CVS on Claremont Avenue, reported Montclair Local. An employee of the CVS reported seeing two men come into the store within minutes of each other and one filled up a garbage bag full of merchandise and the other concealed merchandise under his jacket. At the time of the initial police report, the manager was unable to come up with an exact inventory of the items that were taken.
Hackensack Meridian to Host Free Dental Care Event
Hackensack Meridian Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair will participate in the American Dental Association’s “Give Kids a Smile” program, according to Patch. This program will take place on Friday, February 4, and it is to help provide free dental care for children 12 years old and younger. This program is supposed to help teach children the preventative care that will help them stay healthy.
The Gallery at Paper Mill to Reopen with New Exhibit
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Paper Mill Playhouse will be reopening The Gallery at Paper Mill in the Renee Foosaner Art Gallery, reported Tap Into. The gallery is said to be both reimagined and reinvigorated, and the inaugural exhibition, Color Abstraction, will feature three local artists. The exhibition will run from January 26th through April 24th. Future exhibitions will be running concurrently with the theater’s five annual mainstage productions.
NJT Offers 25% Discount to College Students This Spring
NJ Transit will be offering a student discount to university students for the spring semester, according to Tap Into. This deal is for NJ Transit’s bus, rail, or light rail systems and students are able to buy three months and get one month free with the Student Pass promotion. There are many universities and colleges that are participating in this deal throughout New Jersey.
Montclair Council Wants a Say in Cell Box Installations
Montclair’s mayor and Township Council are opposing legislation that they say would further limit the township’s ability to say no when a utility wants to install equipment on public property, per Montclair Local. While the Council wants residents to have the best access to the best wired and wireless broadband services, the resolution proposed would go too far in curbing all municipal land use control. The New Jersey League of Municipalities and the New Jersey Urban Mayors Association have both also issued a statement opposing the bill.
Permanent Cashless Tolls Coming to New Jersey
Certain tolls in New Jersey will be cashless, per NJ.com. This is because a majority of drivers on the toll roads already use E-ZPass. Cashless tolling would be implemented on the Expressway first and the Turnpike Authority will have the option to piggyback on the Expressway contract when the time comes to switch to all-electronic.