15 Montclair + Bloomfield News Stories You Missed This Week

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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 — Essex County offers rent assistance to those impacted by the coronavirus, the Newark Symphony Hall gives first look into its $50M renovation project, Ray’s Luncheonette Eatery in Montclair won a $40,000 grant from American Express, and so much more. Keep reading for all the news you missed this week in Montclair, Bloomfield, + beyond in Essex County:


To stay up-to-date on the launch, things to do, and weekly in the Montclair + greater Essex County area, follow @themontclairgirl on Instagram and sign up for our Montclair email list here. Email news tips to hello@themontclairgirl.com!


JALWA Opens, Bringing Modern Indian Dining to Montclair

 

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Located at 15 Glenridge Avenue in Montclair, Jalwa is now open for dine-in, outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery. Serving up modern Indian cuisine, the menu features classic Indian dishes with chicken, lamb, goat, seafood, and vegetarian options in addition to a few unique, items that have a contemporary twist. the prix fixe lunch specials are priced at just $10-$12, Monday through Friday, and include an entree, basmati rice, choice of Indian bread like naan, and a dessert.


Bloomfield Police Participate in De-Escalation Training

police

The Bloomfield Police Department recently conducted de-escalation training along with mental health best practices for 50 on-duty police officers, per Tap Into. Cavanaugh & Keenan LLC provided the training and centered their training on an overview of mental health, de-escalation/active listening, guidelines on the use of force, culture + biases, and training on dealing with anger.

“Our officers put their lives on the line every day to protect our community, especially so during the COVID-19 health crisis and for that, we are eternally grateful,” said Mayor Venezia. “In order to ensure that encounters between the public are overwhelmingly positive, our officers take part in training which gives them the skills to deal with a variety of situations. Director DeMaio and the entire Bloomfield Police Department are leading the way in always being ahead of the curve on public safety.”


Montclair’s Ray’s Luncheonette Eatery Wins $40,000 Grant from American Express

On Wednesday, May 12th, American Express announced Ray’s Luncheonette as a winner of the $40,000 small business grant. One of 25, Ray’s Luncheonette will receive this funding through the “Backing Historic Small Restaurants” grant program which serves restaurants owned by underrepresented groups. The funding is allocated towards improving restaurant exteriors and upgrading the online aspect of the business to recover from the impact of the pandemic. Read more here.


Women’s Club Hosts Blood Drive In Montclair

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On Thursday, May 13th the Montclair Women’s Club hosted a blood drive with the help of the New Jersey Blood Services at their Union Street building, per Montclair Local.

“It’s been a very challenging year for us not been able to count on the support of our corporates, high schools, and college groups running blood drives,” said Rosana Tabakci, the New Jersey Blood Services account manager. “Our blood supply is reaching critical levels and we need help to continue supplying our hospitals’ needs for blood.”

If you are interested in donating blood, CLICK HERE to make an appointment and use sponsor code 71133. Appointments are recommended but walk-ins will be available.


Verona Municipal Buildings to Open June 1

Beginning Tuesday, June 1st, all municipal buildings will be open to the public. Face coverings will still be required and residents are encouraged to call ahead or schedule an appointment as some employees will still be working remotely, according to the city’s Instagram.


Newark Symphony Hall Gives Reveals Designs for $50M Renovation Project

This week The Newark Symphony Hall revealed new exterior designs as part of the renovation project that began last year.  The exterior facelift is just one aspect of the three-phase project scheduled for completion by 2025 when the venue will celebrate 100 years.

“With the help of historic preservation experts Clarke Caton Hintz and our wider project team, we’ll be revitalizing our corner of Broad Street while modernizing – and paying tribute to – our historic venue, an anchor institution for the city,” said Taneshia Nash Laird, president, and CEO of Newark Symphony Hall.


Essex County Offers Financial Relief Amid Pandemic

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As of Thursday, May 13th, Essex County will be accepting applications for the 2021 Emergency Rental Assistance Program which has $15.4 million available to be awarded, per Montclair Local. Renters and landlords negatively impacted during the pandemic can apply for help to pay rent or utility bills. Awards will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

“The pandemic created financially challenging and difficult times for individuals and families who experienced a loss of income or loss of employment,” said Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr., the Essex County Executive. “Our Emergency Rental Assistance Program will help eligible residents and families catch up on their rent or utility arrears or pay their rent and/or utility bills prospectively. This ultimately will prevent individuals and families from getting evicted from their housing and becoming homeless.”


Montclair Center BID Announces New Business Grant Competition

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The small business grant competition, Springboard Montclair is slated to fund the lease for two new businesses in downtown Montclair. Applications for the competition opened on Monday, May 10th, and must be submitted by July 1st when the winner will be announced, per Baristanet. Springboard Montclair will award two grants for new or expanding businesses: one for $10,000 and one for $15,000.


Freshman at Montclair High School Return to Campus

montclair school

In a long-anticipated development, Montclair High School freshmen will return to class this week on a hybrid schedule, per Baristanet. Spaced three feet apart and on an alternating schedule, freshman will return to school this week but plans have not been made for sophomore, junior, or senior classes.


Township of Verona to Host Fireworks Show in June

On Wednesday, June 30th the Township of Verona will host its annual fireworks show. Last year’s show was canceled due to the pandemic. The event will take place at the Verona Community Center located at 880 Bloomfield Avenue.


Buildings in Montclair Public School District Left ‘Filthy’

public school

Two head custodians claim that buildings throughout the Montclair Public School District were left “filthy” enough to endanger student health after a year of neglect, per Patch. According to the custodians, the accused officials “tried to bully and sabotage employees they deemed disloyal,” resulting in health hazards like asbestos, rodents, and extreme temperatures. Montclair Superintendent Jonathan Ponds said the matter will be investigated externally.


AAPI Montclair to Host Lantern Festival

 

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On Friday, May 21st at 7PM, the first-ever Lantern Festival for Justice and Remembrance will be held at the Edgemont Memorial park in Montclair.

In an Instagram post shared this week, AAPI Montclair said, “In addition to being a symbol of hope and light, the lantern, in many Asian cultures, is a sign of welcome to the spirits of the departed. In a year of great tragedy coupled with few opportunities to mourn or celebrate those lost, we look forward to gathering as a community for what we hope will be a beautiful and heartfelt memorial. We also plan to have live music, food trucks, and the opportunity for adults and children to write on or decorate luminaries with their own special messages.”

The event will be free but donations are welcome. Funds beyond the cost of the lanterns will be evenly distributed between the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Read more here.


Historic Bellevue Theatre in Montclair to Open Later This Year

bellevue theater

The historic Bellevue Theatre in Montclair opened in 1922 and is scheduled for a renovation, pending local approval, per News 12. Plans include new seats, amenities, and equipment. When theaters closed across the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic, threatened to destroy the movie industry by shutting down production and closing many theaters for months, delaying releases. Officials hope that the renovations will be completed later this year and that the theater can reopen in time for its 100th anniversary.

Newark Man Confesses to Conspiring to Defraud Banks of More Than $250K

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This week an Essex County man confessed to conspiring to defraud two banks of more than $250,000, his accomplice Allen Varice was found guilty of the same charges in April, per Justice.gov.  The charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1M.  Sentencing is scheduled for September 15, 2021.


SOMA To Celebrate LGBTQI+ Youth With A Lavender Graduation

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To celebrate the success of LGBTQIA+ students, this Pride Month the SOMA will honor said students with a Lavendar Graduation on June 3rd, per Baristanet. Students from Essex County, the Township of Maplewood, and South Orange are invited to register. The event will be held virtually and in-person in the Columbia High School Auditorium in Maplewood.

“We want to celebrate and honor the hard work and successes of our LGBTQI+ Youth during Pride Month which honors the history and recognizes the many contributions of LGBTQIA+ persons in our society,” said the Township of Maplewood Deputy Mayor Dean Dafis.


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With two little ones at home, this North Carolina native has worked remotely for the past five years as a freelance writer. Ainsley moved to New Jersey in 2016 and fell in love with the Garden State. She is always on the lookout for what’s going on in the greater New York area, from new restaurants and businesses opening to can’t-miss events highlighting local culture. Outside of writing and being a mother, Ainsley loves to dive into a good book, practice speaking French, and dream up new ways to decorate her apartment.