Every week we bring you the highlights in the news, so you can stay up to date on what is happening in your area. Among the local headlines — the Bloomfield Public School District will receive increased funding in the coming school year, a Bloomfield actor has been cast to play alongside Kevin Bacon, recycling services in Montclair continue to be suspended, and so much more. Keep reading for all the news you missed this week in Montclair, Bloomfield, + Essex County:
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Montclair Center BID Seeking Public Opinion
The Montclair Center BID is asking residents, visitors, and business owners to take a survey to help them grown downtown. Input from this survey will influence priorities and initiatives for the next 10 years. “We are delighted that through the Main Street NJ program from the State of New Jersey, we have the opportunity to take a measured, scientific and strategic approach to our post-COVID recovery,” said Lisa Johnson, president of the Montclair Center BID, reported Montclair Local. Jason Gleason, the BID’s executive director, said the group hopes to “hear from everyone – residents, business owners, shoppers and businesses staffers – to build a better downtown Montclair.”
Montclair State University Honors Women In History
Montclair State began its virtual commemoration of Women’s History Month on Monday, March 1, by recognizing and honoring women’s suffrage and the role models who have left indelible marks on society. The contributions include social movements for women’s suffrage and civil rights, and leadership roles in social-political, cultural, economic, and intellectual development.
At Montclair State, “women from diverse racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds have served our campus community with extraordinary leadership, vision, and intellectual achievements,” President Susan A. Cole said. “Women graduates have used their education to make important contributions to society.” The Volunteer Center will also be accepting donations of non-perishables and toiletries. Donations can be dropped off at the Volunteer Center in Student Center Room 104J.
Montclair Literary Festival to Hold Virtual Event
The Montclair Literary Festival will be holding a virtual event this year which includes four writing workshops in addition to the Global Voices events series in March, starting with Rutgers alum Imbolo Mbue talking about her new book How Beautiful We Were on Saturday, March 13 at 4PM. This is a ticketed event but you also received a copy of the book.
Two other ticketed events will be held on Saturday, March 20th at 7PM, CNN Tonight host Don Lemon will be talking about his new book This is the Fire: How I Speak to My Friends about Racism with MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid. The second event will be held on Sunday, March 21st at 7PM, featuring the 2020 Booker Prize-winning author Douglas Stuart who will be talking about his book with fellow Scot and actor Alan Cumming. Authors will be speaking from New Jersey, Ireland, Spain, Dubai, Korea, and Barbados.
Lottery Player Threatens To Torch Bloomfield Convenience Store
According to Bloomfield Public Safety Director Samuel DeMaio, an East Orange man asked a cashier to play lottery numbers for him at the DJH News Stand on La France Avenue in Bloomfield around 8PM on Monday, February 22nd, per the Daily Voice. Elvis Holder, 53, then started pouring an unknown substance from a plastic water bottle onto the counter, took out a lighter, and told the cashier to “give him everything in the register” while threatening to ignite the substance, DeMaio said. Holder escaped with $968 in cash from the NJ Lottery drawer but was identified via surveillance footage and taken into custody two days later.
Newly Retired Bloomfield Police Officer Loses Battle with COVID-19
Patrolling the town by motorcycle with his signature riding boots, Officer Christiano was a fixture in Bloomfield for many years. Tragically, he lost his battle with COVID-19 on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021, as reported by Tap Into. Benedetto “Benny” Christiano began his career as a police officer in 1993, retiring in December 2020. Just weeks after his retirement, Benny contracted COVID-19. Rest in peace <3.
Shoplifter Grabs All The ‘5 Hour Energy’ Drinks From CVS
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On Thursday, February 28th a man entered the CVS Pharmacy on Claremont Avenue in Montclair with a shopping cart, took possession of a disposable Hallmark gift bag, according to the store manager. Per BaristaNet, the man then cleared the store shelves of ‘5 Hour Energy’ drinks, totaling $411.54, and fled the store, heading on Pine Street.
Bloomfield Actor Cast in City On a Hill with Kevin Bacon
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Bloomfield actor Kevin Interdonato recently landed a role as a recurring character in season two of the Showtime series, City On a Hill, starring Kevin Bacon. “It’s a pretty big break for me,” Interdonato told Patch about the series, a crime drama set in Boston in the early 1990s. “I actually auditioned for a role the first season and had a few scenes throughout. Then was fortunate to have been written into the storyline for this season.” Interdonato called his character a “hard-nosed, fired-up guy” that is set to become a controversial character this season.
Gravity Vault to Open Indoor Rock Climbing Gym in Montclair
Joint venture partners Ironstate Development Company and Brookfield Properties announced the new tenants for the first three retail and office operators setting up shop at the partnership’s mixed-use development in Downtown Montclair. Among the new businesses will be the popular indoor rock climbing building, The Gravity Vault, One River School, and Summit Medical Group. Click here for more information.
Burger Joint Opening New Locations in Essex County
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The hamburger spot serving up Mexico City street-style burgers, Hamburguesa, will soon be coming to West Passaic Avenue in Bloomfield, according to the Daily Voice. The restaurant first opened in Carlstadt under the same owners of Taqueria Los Gueros. The menu includes exciting options like the La Mortal, a loaded burger with beef, hot dog, and bacon.
Montclair Mutual Aid to Host Online Art Auction
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Montclair Mutual Aid is hosting a First Anniversary Art Auction online from March 19th to March 28th. According to BaristaNet, local artists have donated their work to help Montclair Mutual Aid projects continue. Proceeds of the funds from this auction will go directly back into the community. Participating artists include established and up-and-coming makers with work ranging from pencil drawings and photographs to ceramics and sculpture.
Proposed Budget for NJ School Districts to Increase Aid for Bloomfield
A proposed budget was recently released for New Jersey public school districts, increasing aid for some districts and decreasing funding for others. According to Patch, nearly 200 school districts would have a decrease under Governor Murphy’s school funding plan, while more than 300 would gain. The Bloomfield school district is among those who will receive increased funding, looking at $35,612,054 in state aid for the 2021-22 school year, up 13.1 percent from the previous year.
Montclair Food Pantry Highlights Local Need Amid COVID-19
In 2020 The Human Needs Food Pantry in Montclair saw 1,117 new households come for assistance – its highest total ever, according to Patch. The nonprofit located on Label Street serves Montclair and neighboring Essex County towns, normally helping elderly residents, disabled individuals, the homebound, and unemployed or underemployed people. Since the pandemic hit last year, the organization has gone mobile to reach hundreds of people who are homebound. They recently gave away 950 coats and 5,000 pairs of socks, highlighting the increased need in the community.
Crabulous Boil Seafood to Open in Montclair
A new seafood restaurant, Crabulous Boil Seafood, looks to be setting up shop in Montclair. The eatery posted an Instagram picture in July 2020 stating that it was slated to open at the end of October 2020 at 379 Bloomfield Avenue. Unfortunately, due to pandemic delays, it’s still TBD on an opening date as there haven’t been any additional posts on the official account regarding the opening. Signs outside the location still say “COMING SOON,” and here’s we know about the new seafood restaurant coming to Montclair.
The Salad House Primed for Growth in 2021
The Salad House, a health-conscious fast-casual restaurant brand, recently signed its first multi-unit franchise agreement for two locations in New Jersey. The brand’s evolution, innovation, and growth over the last year recently landed it on QSR Magazine’s 40/40 list of emerging concepts poised for continued success and expansion. Since the start of the year, The Salad House has held incredibly successful openings for two new locations, one in Montclair, and the other in Livingston. These two new locations will join existing locations in Millburn, Morristown, and Westfield. Read more about the Montclair location here.
Montclair Recycling Collection Still Suspended Due To Coronavirus
Curbside recycling collection is still suspended in Montclair but the township has decided to expand drop-off times at the Department of Community Services yard to help local residents get rid of their recyclable materials. Last week, the township announced it has seen a “significant decrease” in its DCS workforce due to the coronavirus, according to Patch. Some employees have tested positive for COVID-19, while others have been exposed to the virus. The garbage collection schedule continued without interruption.
Polarizing Rent Control Debate Continues in Montclair
At the March 2nd Montclair Township Council meeting, residents weighed in regarding rent control, as expected. Tap Into reports that Judge Jeffrey Beacham reversed his earlier decision on the township’s rent-control ordinance, now having ruled that Montclair either hold a referendum on the ordinance or repeal it and revisit the issue. Most residents were in support of the council keeping up the fight, but property owners and their advocates demanded a new approach to the issue. Advocates for the Montclair Property Owners Association said too much money has been spent on litigation and that the time for negotiation is now.
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