Home Essex County 22 News Stories You Missed This Week in Montclair and Beyond

22 News Stories You Missed This Week in Montclair and Beyond

by The Montclair Girl Team
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It’s been another busy week in Essex County — specifically Montclair and Bloomfield news, with plenty of headlines to catch up on. Among the highlights: arrests made in 2014 theft from Yogi Berra Museum in Montclair; Maplewood CBD Shop wins Best in State, and a retired Newark police officer receives a life-saving organ donation. Read on for more news headlines from Montclair, Newark, Bloomfield, and beyond for the week ending June 11th, 2023. 

Updates on Bloomfield College + Montclair State University Merging

montclair state university
Essex County is home to a few local colleges + universities — and now, two of these schools are officially joining forces. It was announced this week that Bloomfield College will be merging with Montclair State University and will operate under the new name, Bloomfield College of Montclair State University. This move comes just months after Montclair State helped provide financial relief to Bloomfield College to prevent it from closing down. The current goal is to have the merger completed by June 30th, 2023 — and in the meantime, Bloomfield College will continue operating independently but will still work closely with Montclair State. The incorporation of a private college (Bloomfield) into a public university (Montclair State) is rare, and there will be a lot to iron out to ensure a smooth transition. As of June 15th, 2023, the merger has taken another step forward. Read on to learn more about the Bloomfield College and Montclair State University merger.

Port Authority Launches Robotics Contest for
High School STEM Students

Local high school students could be STEM heroes in a new contest announced by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The contest asks students to design a robot that could help the agency manage traffic in the Holland and Lincoln tunnels. The Port Authority will host three online information sessions over the summer for students interested in participating. For more information on the application process, click here.

Maplewood Shop Wins NJ CBD Shop of the Year Award

At the 2023 New Jersey Cannabis Insider Awards ceremony, Maplewood shop Elevated by the Cannaboss Lady was named CBD Shop of the Year. Per Village Green, the New Jersey Cannabis Insider Awards is an annual event that celebrates individuals and businesses that have made significant contributions to the cannabis industry. The shop, located at 9 Highland Place in Maplewood, is owned by South Orange resident Jill Cohen. Read more about Jill and her shop in MG’s profile here.

Roman-Style Pizzeria and Bakery Opens at
Gateway Center in Newark

A new pizza restaurant has opened at the Junction at Gateway Center in Newark, and to celebrate, it is offering free cannolis alongside pizza purchases until June 23rd. According to an Instagram post, Farinella Bakery, which is a Roman-style bakery and pizzeria, has locations on the Upper East Side and Columbus Circle. In honor of the Gateway Center location’s opening, customers who order pizza will get a free cannoli with purchase from June 12th through June 23rd.

NJ Economic Development Authority Accepting Applications for Arts and Revitalization Projects

Via a press release, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) has opened the application for the Activation, Revitalization, and Transformation (ART) Program, which is a one-time grant opportunity for projects in urban areas with mass transit that have faced economic disruption due to the reduction of commuter foot traffic following the COVID-19 pandemic. The first round of funding made available under the ART Program is for projects in Atlantic City and Newark. For additional information about the ART Program, click here.

Graduating Columbia High School Student Athletes Sent Off to their Collegiate Athletic Careers at Signing Day Breakfast Celebration

Student-athletes who are going on to play in college were honored at a Signing Day Breakfast at Columbia High School in Maplewood. Per Village Green, over a dozen student-athletes are going on to play collegiate sports, with girls’ basketball being the most represented sport. Friends, family, coaches, and guidance counselors were invited to participate and celebrate the graduating students.

Newark Ranks High for a Car-Free Lifestyle

Per Patch, a recently released study gave Newark high ranks for quality of life without a car. Newark was ranked 2nd out of 331 cities, behind only Boston, for best places to live without a car. Some of the factors considered included the percentage of the population that used public transit, the density of alternate transit stations available, and the average price of an adult fare.

Montclair Grants New Liquor License to Montclair Film

In a unanimous vote at a recent Township Council meeting, Montclair granted a new liquor license. Per Patch, the applicant was Montclair Film, the non-profit organization that organizes the annual film festival. The type of license that the group applied for and received is called a “theater exception license” which is a relatively new type of license for non-profit theaters to be able to serve alcohol.

Local Female-Focused Non-Profits Receive Grants From Jewish Women’s Foundation of New Jersey (JWF-NJ)


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Via a press release, The Jewish Women’s Foundation of New Jersey (JWF-NJ), a giving
circle of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ, announced its contribution of $117,000 to five local nonprofit organizations that are working to positively impact women and girls. Since its formation in 2007, JWF-NJ has awarded grants to more than 85 organizations, totaling more than $1.4 million. This year’s grant recipients include Barat Foundation, which teaches engineering and utilization of 3D printers, arts, and entrepreneurship skills to girls in Newark; Girls Helping Girls. Period. an organization that introduces the use of menstrual cups to women/girls and provides support; KinderSmile (Community Oral Health Center Bloomfield) a group that provides free dental care to perinatal and postpartum women; Montclair State Foundation’s Global Center on Human Trafficking, to provide teen survivors for workshops on self-sufficiency, college and career readiness; and Sharsheret to send free, customizable support kits to women facing breast or ovarian cancer.

Summer Writing Contest for Local Students Announced

Per a social media post, the second annual Folkwise Summer Writing Contest is officially open and free to even more students this year. The contest accepts stories, essays, and poems, with an expanded word count of up to 1,000, from rising 6th-8th graders not only in Glen Ridge but also Montclair and Bloomfield. The contest is run by Glen Ridge-based Folkwise Communications, and winners receive a cash prize at a celebration at the end of the summer. For more information, click here.

Ribbon Cutting for New Montclair Location of Locally Owned Optometry Center

Photo Credit: AZ Is Media

Via a press release, BNC Eye Care Group, a black-owned family eye care center founded by optometrists Drs. Barnes and Carter announced the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the grand opening of their new location at 321 Orange Road in Montclair. Long-time Montclair locals Drs. Barnes and Carter achieved their doctorate degrees in 1986 and 1987, respectively. The newly expanded facility exemplifies BNC Eye Care Group’s dedication to providing thorough eye care services. Patients can expect a wide range of services, including comprehensive eye examinations for adults, children, and infants, ocular management of patients with diabetes, vision therapy, contact lenses, myopia control, low vision services, and pre and post-operative care for LASIK as well as cataracts.

Volunteers, Tutors, and Students Celebrated in South Orange and Maplewood

Tutors and Volunteers with the South Orange and Maplewood School District were celebrated at an awards ceremony earlier this month, according to Village Green. Over 300 students were served by the Achieve Foundation, the non-profit organization that supports the school district. Several student tutors were also honored for their commitment to volunteering.

The Juice House is Coming to Montclair


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A post shared by The Juice House ® (@thejuicehouse_)

The Juice House, a popular smoothie and açai bowl restaurant with three North Jersey locations, announced via social media that a Montclair location is coming soon. The new shop will be at 10 N Willow Street. The Juice House currently has locations in New Providence, Garwood, and Freehold.

Free ASL Classes from the Newark Library

The Newark Public Library will offer free classes in American Sign Language (ASL) at several locations this summer, according to a social media post. Participants will develop Basic -level skills in the widely used language of the deaf in the U.S. and Canada. Students will also learn about American Deaf culture and gain valuable insight for future encounters with individuals who are deaf in professional and social contexts.

Dead & Company Drummer Mickey Hart To Host
New Jersey Art Show

As the Dead & Company prepare for their final Farewell Tour this summer, the band’s legendary percussionist, Mickey Hart, will present his newest art collection, the Art of Mickey Hart during two of the group’s tour stops. Via a press release, one of the two showings will be on Friday, June 23rd at 6:30PM at the Wentworth Gallery at Short Hills Mall. Those interested in attending should contact the gallery directly for more information at (973) 564-9776.

Northern NJ Ranks High for Costs for Renters, Officially

A recently released study from LawnLove.com ranked the Newark/Jersey City/New York area as the number one most expensive area for renters in 2023. The study examined average rent prices, year-over-year rent changes, and the share of renters spending over 30% of their income on rent and utilities, among nine total metrics. The only other area in New Jersey to be included was Trenton-Princeton which was ranked #22.

Arrests Made in Sports Memorabilia Conspiracy at Yogi Berra Museum

The US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced charges against nine men in connection with a 2014 theft of memorabilia from the Yogi Berra Museum in Montclair. According to a press release, over 20 years the nine men conspired to steal memorabilia and artwork and other objects. Over a dozen law enforcement agencies participated in the investigation. Many of the items were melted down to be resold for their materials or destroyed.

Retired Newark Police Officer Receives Life-Saving Heart Transplant

A retired Newark police officer was able to attend his son’s wedding thanks to a heart transplant. Per Patch, Charles Upshaw’s health suffered for several years before being put on the transplant list in 2020. He received the life-saving surgery in February 2023. He was able to celebrate his son’s wedding just a few weeks later.

Rental Assistance Program Now Available in Montclair

The Montclair Residential Rental Assistance Program (MRRAP) provides temporary rental assistance to low- and moderate-income households affected by employment loss. The program launched on June 9th. More information is available on the Township’s website.

A Peek at Gioia Mia, a New Restaurant in Montclair

gioia mia
Gioia Mia comes from the minds of Mary Cumella and Chef Logan Ramirez — the General Manager and Chef de Cuisine of the beloved Fascino. Gioia Mia started as a pop-up at Fascino and comes with inspiration from Mary’s late grandmother, who was known for her delicious Sunday dinners and keeping the kitchen open to everyone at any time of day. The dishes here are also inspired by New Jersey’s plentiful bounty, with all ingredients sourced from local farms, fishermen, and carefully selected purveyors — creating a variety of curated seasonal dishes infused with elevated comfort. We’ll share more about this unique new spot soon!

Mind Your Beads and Seeds Closing Montclair Location, New Shop Location TBD

According to a social media post, Montclair plant and gift shop Mind Your Beads and Seeds is moving to a new location. The shop, located at 147 D Valley Road, will close on June 25th. A new location is soon to be announced.

Changes Underway at Montclair’s Rabble Rise Doughnuts


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Rabble Rise Doughnuts’ Montclair location has a new owner as of June 1st. New owner Wes Berghahn plans to bring back homemade bread starting in July and wants to change the name to Montclair Bread Company. He also plans to increase the production of doughnuts to prevent sellouts.  More updates to come!

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