19 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 — Frances Aboushi has been recommended as the new principal for Bradford Elementary School, Academy Award-winning actress and Montclair icon Olympia Dukakis passed away on May 1st, the Bloomfield Public Library reopened on Monday, 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!


Vesta Chocolate Featured in Chrissy Teigen’s Mother’s Day Gift Guide

 

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Vesta Chocolate was featured in Chrissy Teigen’s Mother’s Day Gift Guide shared on Instagram. The post said, “We’re ecstatic to be included in @cravingsbychrissyteigen’s Mother’s Day Gift Guide! Thanks for the lovely feature @chrissyteigen @pepperthai2.” The shop is located at 598 Valley Road Suite 2 in Upper Montclair.


Curated Home & Living Boutique Now Open in Montclair

Curated Home & Living has opened at 102 Walnut Street in Montclair, selling linens, books, vases, dishes, and more. The shop is a lifestyle shop born out of a passion for materials, design, and objects. “I am a big believer in ‘fewer but better’ and understand that homes are not only shelters but sanctuaries that represent the people who live in them,” the owner Danielle told Montclair Girl. “My husband and I wanted to not only showcase and offer products with integrity and lasting character but also have a place to connect with our community and local artisans. We will be offering services like floral subscriptions and styling.” The shop had a soft launch on Saturday, May 1st, and will be open on weekends through May. The grand opening will be in early June after which the store will be open with increased hours.


New Principal Named For Bradford Elementary School

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Frances Aboushi has been recommended as the new principal for Bradford Elementary School in Montclair, per Patch. She is currently the assistant principal at Glenfield Middle School. It is expected that she will begin switching over to her new role on May 6th. An interim assistant principal will be announced at the upcoming Board of Education meeting.


Town Council Approves $665K Budget for Montclair Business Improvement District

BID

On Tuesday, May 4th, the town council approved the 2021 budget for the Montclair Business Improvement District, per Patch. The approved budget consists of $665,760 the details of which you can view here. The anticipated changes are made possible in part due to the $93,450 of capital reserve funds. “By re-appropriating these rainy day funds for this crucial year, the BID will be able to increase services and not raise the assessment on our stakeholders. This will allow the BID to better serve, advocate and support our members without any additional costs to them,” the Business Improvement District stated.


Elizabeth Native Graduates MIT, Oversees Nuclear Energy at PSEG for New Jersey

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Elizabeth native, Judy Rodriguez graduated from MIT in 2013 with a degree in nuclear science and engineering. Now she works at PSEG in South Jersey, overseeing about 90 percent of the carbon-free electricity generated in the state, per Tap Into. Rodriguez’s work is contributing to Governor Phil Murphy’s goal of reaching 100 percent clean energy by 2050.

“Clean energy should be at the top of our priorities as far as what we need to address. It all goes back to climate change. I think New Jersey as a whole has already made the choice to invest in our plants, and there is going to be a payoff,” Rodriguez said. “It’s expensive to decommission a nuclear power plant, and it’s expensive to replace in the long term. We have really ambitious goals for being clean in New Jersey. We’re not going to be able to do that without nuclear plants without it costing a lot more. It’s pay now or pay later.”


Montclair United Soccer Club + Team Up Montclair Donate to YMCA Playground

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Photo credit: Google Maps

Team-Up Montclair and the Montclair United Soccer Club have donated $5,313 to the YMCA of Montclair’s efforts to build an inclusive playground, per Montclair Local.

The YMCA describes the project as a “colorful and creative playground” at the Geyer Family Y — available both to children attending Y programming, as well as families living in the neighborhood.

“Team Up Montclair, along with Montclair United Soccer Club, is proud to partner with the YMCA of Montclair in support of the neighborhood playground at the Y’s Geyer Family Branch” Linda Bowers, president and co-founder of Team Up Montclair said in an announcement from the Y. “Team Up Montclair is dedicated to supporting, promoting and growing our community’s commitment to health and fitness, as well as its rich legacy of sports, recreation, and sportsmanship.


May 8th Yard Sale Benefits Toni’s Kitchen

On Saturday, May 8th, Toni’s Community Closet held a yard sale at 73 South Fullerton Avenue, to benefit Toni’s Kitchen, per Montclair Local. The yard sale featured clothing, housewares, toys, and other items all sold to benefit the food ministry of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

Toni’s Community Closet is a thrift shop project of Toni’s Kitchen. Through repurposing gently used clothing and housewares, Toni’s Closet ensures access to these items for low-income neighbors.


Montclair Icon Olympia Dukakis Passes Away at Age 89

 

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Academy Award-winning actress and Montclair icon Olympia Dukakis passed away on Saturday, May 1st at age 89. Best known for her role in “Moonstruck” in 1988. Dukakis moved to Montclair with her husband in 1970 to raise their family and together they co-founded the Whole Theatre Company, per Montclair Local.

According to her son, Dukakis “was consumed with meaningful pursuits, both professionally and personally, and gravitated towards people who shared the same commitment.”


Budget Amendment Adds $100K to Library Support

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On Tuesday, May 4th the Montclair town council approved a change to the 2021 Montclair budget which includes an increase of $100,000 to the library system. This addition means the library will receive a total budget of $419,848 in 2021, per Baristanet. The funding is contingent on the Bellevue Avenue branch reopening as soon as possible. The next public hearing regarding these changes will be held on May 18th.


Montclair Pool Opening Soon, Badges on Sale

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Beginning Wednesday, May 5th, the Department of Recreation in Montclair will be selling pool badges for summer 2021, per Baristanet. Starting weekends only, Mountainside Pool will open on Saturday, May 29th, and Nishuane Pool will open on Saturday, June 12th. Eventually, both pools will move to a full 7-day schedule on June 25th. Social distancing will be enforced in the pool on the deck with 50 percent capacity overall. No daily passes or out-of-town guests will be permitted this season.


Vaccinated Fans Allowed to Unmask at Home Games for Yankees + Mets

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As of May 19th, the Mets and Yankees will be allowed to increase stadium capacity to 100 percent inside the ballparks for home games. Once seated, vaccinated attendees will be allowed to take off their masks but those who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 will be seated in a separate section, per Patch.

“Theoretically if you had 100 percent vaccinated, you could fill the entire stadium with 100 percent vaccinated,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a COVID-19 briefing. “Unvaccinated, it is still the 6-foot social distancing. In other words, our capacity restrictions have been relaxed subject to the federal CDC social-distancing guideline of 6 feet.”

Current stipulations require fans to show proof of a recent COVID-19 test which will be dropped with the new rules later this month. Sections for unvaccinated fans will be at 33 percent capacity and masks will continue to be required.


High School Students Help Peers Through Non-Profit

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A non-profit organization born out of the pandemic is facilitating high school students to help their peers through the challenges of remote learning, per North Jersey. Masiel Rodriquez-Vars, president of the nonprofit Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence, started the initiative after hearing from teachers and guidance counselors that students were missing remote class and not turning in their work.

“Remote learning exacerbates the risk of student engagement, especially for students already having difficulty in school or who don’t have tech-savvy supports,” Rodriguez-Vars said. “Middle school is a hard three years, and especially now when kids are not seeing their teachers and friends on a regular basis. They are struggling with mental health issues, navigating friends, and figuring out their identity.”


Montclair Planning Board Approves Orange Road Parking Deck

parking deck

During the May 3rd meeting, the Montclair Planning Board made the decision to resolve the issue surrounding the parking deck on Orange Road and approve the extension. Montclair Acquisition Partners will be allowed to extend the floors of the parking deck, per Tap IntoDuring construction, MAP will provide valet service to help with traffic overflow.


Paramus Resident Offers Life Advice on 100th Birthday

juniper village

Photo credit: Juniper Village via Facebook

Born the youngest of five children in Queens, current Paramus resident Tecla Kern celebrated her 100th birthday with a socially distanced party on April 21st, per Patch. Kern served as the president of the Juniper Village resident council for the last four years. Friends, family, and fellow residents gathered to celebrate her life with a slideshow and drive-by car parade. Her advice for a life well-lived: “Live the way we want and get along with people.”


Vaccine Pop-Up Clinic Coming to Bloomfield

pop up clinic

A pop-up vaccine clinic will take place on Wednesday, May 12th in Bloomfield, per Patch. The site will be open 9:30AM to 2PM at the Watsessing Community Center off Conger Street. Assuming everything goes according to plan, another clinic will be held on Wednesday, May 19th at the same time.


Honorary Degree Recipients Announced for 148th Bloomfield College Commencement

Bloomfield College

{Photo credit: Bloomfield College}

Marchet P. Evans, President of Bloomfield College announced the national citizens who will receive an honorary degree as part of the private institution’s 148th commencement, per Tap IntoThe recipients include Wanda Durant, the president and CEO of Hope, Dream, Believe and Achieve; Marion Lee Johnson, an African American trailblazer who contributed to the successful moon landing in 1969; and Richard A. Levao, Ph.D., JD, who served as the president of Bloomfield College for 16 years.


Bloomfield Public Library Reopening in Phases

bloomfield library

On Monday, May 3rd, the Bloomfield Public Library began the process of reopening, per Patch. Residents with a library card will be given access to computers for 45 minutes by appointment only. Precautions are set in place to ensure the safety of patrons and library staff.

“I am thrilled to see that our library, which is an outstanding resource for the community is beginning the process of reopening to the public,” said Bloomfield Mayor Venezia. “Throughout the pandemic, our library staff have done an exceptional job of helping residents and creating online programs for children and families to take advantage of.”


Cat Survives Ride to Bloomfield Underneath Car Hood

On Monday, May 3rd a cat was brought to the Bloomfield Animal Shelter after it was discovered under the hood of a car on Cleveland Terrace.

The shelter posted on Instagram, “This cat took a ride in the hood of a car yesterday, Monday, May 3rd, and was discovered when the car parked on Cleveland Terrace near Llewellyn Ave in Bloomfield. The driver was unsure of how long the cat was inside and only drove locally – Bloomfield + Newark. He received emergency medical care and it was determined that he suffered some bumps and bruises and a broken jaw. Thankfully, he can still eat and drink and is stable. He is an adult neutered male and does NOT appear to be feral at all.”

The cat underwent surgery to fix the broken jaw on Thursday, May 6th, and is expected to make a full recovery.


Students Compete for Scholarships at Universal Technical Institute in Bloomfield

High school students from New Jersey and New York competed for scholarships to Universal Technical Institute at the Bloomfield campus. The event occurred over two Saturdays and challenged students to use in-demand automotive technology skills to win up to $300K in scholarship funds. Of the 18 two-person teams, the winning team from Wayne Valley High School walked away with full-ride scholarships.


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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.