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: a new food pantry opens in Newark’s East Ward; ‘Roses to Rock Gardens Tour’ returns to Montclair; Bloomfield Board of Education meeting addresses diversity; and so much more. Keep reading for all the news you missed this week in Montclair, Bloomfield, + beyond in Essex County:
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Essex County Voters to Use New Paper Trail System
Following the aftermath of the 2020 elections, Essex County announced it would invest $3.8M to buy new voting machines in an effort to safeguard future elections, per Patch. This year it will also debut a new, voter-marked paper balloting system that includes a verifiable paper trail. The new system and machines will be in place for 2021 local elections.
Employees May be Permitted to Work Maskless
Masks requirements are looking light for office workers who can prove they have been fully vaccinated, per Tap Into. Governor Phil Murphy recently signed an executive order lifting the mask requirement in the workplace which went into effect on Friday, June 4th. The order also lifts minimum staffing levels in the workplace.
Nine-Year-Old Montclair Student Ranks First in National Math Exam
Montclair resident, Onward Fernandez, ranked first in New Jersey and ranked first nationally for his scores on the International Math Kangaroo Exam at just nine years old, per Montclair Local. He was also awarded an Achievement Award for getting a perfect score on the Level 3 exam. Fernandez is a full-time homeschool student and took the last year to prepare for the exam.
Newark School District to Receive $177M in Federal Funding
According to information released on Monday, the Newark school district is slated to receive $177M in federal funding, per Patch. The school district has also been awarded $84M in pandemic relief, which means the district will have access to $262M which equates to about $7,300 per student on top of what the district usually spends. This funding, separate from the regular budget, does not cover salaries and other fixed costs but can be exclusively used to improve other areas of the school district.
New Georgia King Village Coming to Newark
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A new project in Newark’s Fairmount neighborhood, the Georgia King Village, is expected to break ground this summer. The development will include affordable housing, residences for the formerly homeless, and a community healthcare clinic with social services for at-risk populations, per New York YIMBY. The $41M project is sponsored by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency and is expected to be completed by Spring 2023.
Montclair State University Recognizes Student for Excellence in Journalism
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Montclair State University Student, Bernice Ndegwq of South Plainfield, recently won the ‘Excellence as Host Award’ in addition to the ‘Excellence in Communication Media Arts Award’, per Tap Into. Both awards require the student to be nominated by another individual and judged by an undisclosed panel. She has also earned a scholarship from Montclair’s School of Communication and Media.
NJ Takes Steps To Ban ICE Prison Contract
A proposed law is making its way through the legislature that would ban New Jersey prisons from making deals to hold federal immigration detainees, per Patch. The Assembly’s Law and Public Safety Committee voted in favor of the law on Wednesday. At this point, the bill will now be reviewed by the Assembly Speaker. If approved, the law will not allow state or local government and private companies to enter into, renew, or expand detention contracts with ICE in New Jersey.
‘Roses to Rock Gardens Tour’ Returns to Montclair
Van Vleck’s Roses to Rock Gardens Tour will return this June, which means residents can once again enjoy exploring seven private, unique Montclair and Llewellyn Park gardens. The garden tour gives participants an intimate look at outdoor living spaces and gardens close to home in Essex County, per Baristanet. The event will take place on Friday, June 11th and Saturday, June 12th.
Montclair’s Rooftop Bar Alto Ranks 4th in New Jersey
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The rooftop bar, Alto at The MC Hotel, has ranked 4th on the list of “Best Rooftop Bars” in New Jersey. The full list features 15 of the best rooftop bars in the state, per Patch. Local residents looking for a beautiful NYC skyline view will find it in this spot, deemed perfect for a date night or girl’s night out.
New Development Could Replace Old Ballantine Brewery Site in Newark
The Ballantine Brewery in Newark closed almost 50 years ago with no plan for redevelopment – until now, per Jersey Digs. Ballantine EFG Property Owner, LLC has submitted an application to the City of Newark for a six-story mixed-use development. The proposed development features 280 residential units, 125 basement parking spaces, 2,652 square feet of retail space, a fitness center, co-working space, and a rooftop courtyard area.
Task Force Designated for Montclair Public Schools Beginning Fall 2021
A new task force has been designated for the Montclair public school district to help with the transition back to full-time in-person class this fall, per Patch. The task force will also examine the effect of the pandemic and remote learning on local students. Debra Jennings, a local parent and former school board member, will head up the task force.
July 4th Celebration Canceled in Montclair
Montclair has officially decided to cancel the July 4th celebration, for the second year in a row, per Patch. The parade, fireworks, and community picnic at Edgemont Memorial Park are all canceled. In light of the fact that restrictions were only recently lifted city officials decided to cancel all large public gatherings for the safety and health of the community.
Walker House Reborn as Landmark Luxury Rental
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The Walker House has been reborn in an Art Deco style, featuring luxury rental units in downtown Newark, per Jersey Digs. The historic property was originally built in 1929 and served as the original corporate headquarters for the New Jersey Bell Company. The architect, Ralph Thomas Walker, for whom the building was later renamed, also built the first skyscraper in New York City.
Applications Open for Montclair African-American Heritage Foundation Scholarship
This week The Montclair African-American Heritage Foundation announced it is now accepting applications for the annual scholarship program, per Patch. Graduating seniors from any Montclair high school are welcome to apply. Applicants will be evaluated not only on the content of their submission but also on neatness, promptness, and the successful completion of his or her submission.
Montclair Kimberley Academy Launches New Podcast
Montclair Kimberley Academy recently launched a new podcast called “Inquiry to Insight,” hosted by MKA’s assistant head of the Upper School, Steve Valentine, per Montclair Local. The podcast will feature interviews with the school’s alumni.
“From investments and law to product partnerships and design, each guest will discuss their career paths and how technology has played an important role,” Valentine said. “We are taking our listeners on a journey through the ‘state of technology,’ demonstrating how this ever-changing field is intertwined in everything we do. At the forefront of innovative solutions, MKA is a school that has mastered the art of technology on many levels and our alumni are proof.”
Montclair to Celebrate Juneteenth As Public Holiday
In a recent announcement, Montclair will now observe Friday, June 18th as a public holiday in recognition of Juneteenth, to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States, per Patch. Juneteenth is also a state holiday as of September 2020. Municipal offices will be closed and city services like refuse and recycling collection will be suspended for the day.
“Juneteenth is not only a celebration of this momentous period in our history, but also a day that affords us an opportunity to consider how much more needs to be done to ensure true equity and justice for all Americans,” Mayor Sean Spiller said. “The need to recognize the challenges we still face as a nation, to confront the systemic racism rooted in so many of our institutions, and to truly live up to the ideals prescribed in the founding documents of this great nation is a call to action that each of us, as Americans, need to answer.”
East Ward Food Pantry Opens in Newark
The United Community Corporation held a grand opening earlier this week for the second food pantry in Newark, per Patch. The new location is in the East Ward at Wolff Memorial Presbyterian Church located at 106 Ann Street. The second floor will house a free clothing room which will also include toys, backpacks, and other items.
18-Year-Old Entrepreneur Opens Beauty Garden in East Orange
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East Orange resident Maylani Brown recently became the youngest storefront owner in East Orange following the ribbon-cutting of her own business, Maylani’s Beauty Garden, per Tap Into. With the support of her mother, the 18-year-old launched her business at 396 North Walnut Street, specializing in wigs, weaves, braids, and nails. She already has plans to expand the storefront to include the building next door.
Equity, Diversity, Inclusion Addressed at Bloomfield Board of Education Meeting
Dr. Penelope Lattimer and Dr. Adele Macula presented on diversity and inclusion during Bloomfield’s BOE meeting on Tuesday, per Tap Into. The goal was to learn how to improve equity in programming and increase diversity in staffing. The presentation was followed by a discussion on current standings and future plans for expanding these efforts in the district.
Former NJ Councilman Died in Prison Following Inadequate Medical Care
The family of former Bloomfield councilman, Elias Chalet, filed a lawsuit against the State of New Jersey stating Chalet did not receive “proper and prompt medical attention” while in custody, per NJ.com. The lawsuit claims proper preventative measures in light of the pandemic were not in place in the state’s prison system. Chalet, who was serving a state sentence for bribery, recently died while in prison.
Boston Festival to Feature Montclair Recorder Ensemble
A local recorder ensemble featuring the talents of Lyle Harmon, Coco Luraschi, Maya Herrera-Shimokawa, and Lindsay Chabla will be featured in the virtual Boston Early Musical Festival, per Montclair Local. The students will play alongside fellow recorder players located in Nairobi, Kenya on June 12th. These four Montclair students are four of ten who have been selected throughout the country to participate in the program.
Montclair Student Asks for School Holiday for Eid
Montclair student, Laila Khan, 11, wrote an email to her principal asking for a school holiday for Eid Al-Fitr which marks the end of the fasts of Ramadan, per Montclair Local. The principal made note of the holiday on the school calendar but did not grant the request to have the day off. He suggested Khan send a petition through the district to garner support for her cause.