Home Essex CountyBelleville 20 News Stories You Missed This Week in Montclair + Beyond

20 News Stories You Missed This Week in Montclair + Beyond

by The Montclair Girl Team
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

Spring is in full swing with warmer temperatures and a few showers to bring those cherry blossoms to life. It’s been another busy week in Essex County and we’ve got all the news to keep you up to date. Among the highlights: Livingston Superintendent of Schools announces his resignation; Newark approves construction for a new skyscraper; and a Montclair High School rowing alum wins international praise. Read on for all the news in Essex County for the week ending April 14th, 2024.

Have a news story or press release? Email it to hello@themontclairgirl.com.

Among the Headlines:

  • Montclair Literary Festival Returning on April 27th
  • South Orange Library Moves Into Second Temporary Location
  • 7-Year-Old Dog at Bloomfield Animal Shelter Outgrowing His Space
  • 1,000+ Apartments in Newark Get Cheap, High-Speed Internet
  • New Film Studio in West Orange Approved
  • Montclair High School Rowing Alum Wins International Award
  • Brookdale Dog Park in Bloomfield Makes ‘Hidden Dog Park Gems’ List
  • New Web Series, Meet Me In Montclair, Promotes Life in the Suburbs
  • Montclair Approves Long-Awaited Senior Center
  • Local Glen Ridge House + Montclair Artist Showcased on PBS + Roku’s This Old House

Montclair Literary Festival Returning on April 27th

stack of books

The Ivy at Chatham

The annual Montclair Literary Festival is back for 2024 at multiple venues in the area, from Montclair State University to Montclair Public Library. With a history that dates back to 2016, Montclair-based nonprofit Succeed2gether will host the Montclair Literary Festival from April 27th to May 4th. Attendees can anticipate a series of 40+ events with 90+ authors. Click here to learn more about the upcoming 2024 Montclair Literary Festival, its events, and the participating authors.

Livingston Superintendent of Schools Announces Resignation

Dr. Matthew Block, the superintendent of Livingston Public Schools, announced his resignation after five years with the district, effective after this school year. He has been an educational professional in New Jersey for 25 years. According to TAPinto, Dr. Block assured the community that he will, “remain available and visible in Livingston over the next several months” and that he plans to be part of the transition of leadership. The Livingston Board of Education is currently discussing the search process for his successor.

South Orange Library Moves Into Second Temporary Location


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by South Orange Public Library (@so_library)

The South Orange Public Library is moving into a second temporary location at the “soon-to-be-opened” Baird Recreation Center while its main building undergoes renovations. An announcement from the library on April 5th said it has been operating at 298 Walton Avenue for two months, per TAPinto, after the main library building closed on December 11th. An opening date for the recreation center will be announced soon, as well as a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 20th. The library’s newly renovated location is almost double in size and has different spaces dedicated to different needs and age groups. Andrew Berman Architects and library officials are set to host a town hall meeting in person at the main library on April 18th where the public can see updated plans and ask questions.

Montclair Native Sentenced in Federal Drug Case

Michael Healy, a 43-year-old Montclair resident, was found guilty of his role in a “large-scale narcotics enterprise.” After a four-week trial in front of a federal judge, he was convicted on charges of racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute narcotics, conspiring to murder a federal witness, and three counts of murder in aid of racketeering, per a press release from the U.S. District Attorney’s Office. Michael was also found guilty of related firearms offenses. Michael faces multiple mandatory life sentences and his sentencing is scheduled for October 1st.

7-Year-Old Dog at Bloomfield Animal Shelter Outgrowing His Space


A 7-year-old dog named Sniper is looking for a forever home after spending nearly 600 days in the Bloomfield Animal Shelter. According to Patch, Sniper was given to the shelter in September 2022 after his owner “fell on hard times,” and it’s been difficult for rescuers and adopters to want to take him home. He reportedly had a temporary home a few months prior but plans fell through as the homeowners went against the shelter’s recommendations of not showering him with toys. The shelter has put out another adoption/foster call, stating that he has a calmer demeanor as he gets older, loves long walks, is attending training classes with Behavior Plus, and comes with free training to his adopters. Interested adopters can fill out an application online, as well as see a list of available dogs and cats on the Bloomfield Animal Shelter’s PetFinder profile.

Bloomfield + South Orange-Maplewood Earn Award for Their Music Programs

saxophone laying on sheet music

The NAMM Foundation announced that both the Bloomfield Public School District and the South Orange-Maplewood Public School District made its list for the 2024 Best Communities for Music Education Awards. The national awards recognize K-12 schools and school districts for maintaining the “highest commitment to producing exceptional music programs,” per a press release from the organization. This is the first time South Orange-Maplewood earned the award and Bloomfield’s third time with the title.

1,000+ Apartments in Newark Get Cheap, High-Speed Internet


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by City of Newark, NJ – City Hall (@cityofnewarknj)


City and housing officials joined representatives from Andrena at a news conference on April 4th to announce a new partnership that will deliver affordable, high-speed internet connectivity to 14 affordable housing buildings overseen by the Newark Housing Authority. According to Patch, Andrena will offer residents connectivity starting at $20 a month, compared to an average rate of $75 a month, saving them as much as $700 a year. This deal will also provide free wi-fi in common areas within and around the public housing buildings to residents.

Man Charged with Arson at a Verona Church

A Verona native, Elliot Bennett, was charged with arson in an overnight fire at Our Lady of the Lake Roman Catholic Church at 22 Lakeside Avenue. The Verona Fire Department and police officers responded to the call around 3:30AM and observed heavy smoke conditions before the fire was quickly extinguished, according to NorthJersey.com. An investigation conducted by detectives from the Prosecutor’s Crime Scene Investigation Bureau and the Verona Police Department determined that the fire was deliberately set and had multiple points of origin. Elliot has been charged with multiple counts and will remain in the Essex County Correctional Facility pending an appearance in the Essex County Central Judicial Processing court.

Newark Approves Construction on New Skyscraper


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by KS GROUP LLC (@ksgroupllc)


Newark’s Zoning Board of Adjustment approved an application for Summit Tower by a 5-2 vote during its meeting on March 28th. The plans come courtesy of KS Group — a local developer with several Newark projects in the pipeline. According to Jersey Digs, the tower is slated to rise to 514 feet at 200-206 Market Street which currently houses older structures that have sat vacant for at least two decades. The 41-story building is set to include 514 units, of which 20 percent will be reserved for affordable housing, house various amenities, and have 142 parking spaces in a garage for future residents. KS Group announced that the demolition of the existing buildings at the property is slated to begin later this year, but a firm timeline for construction has not yet been announced.

$1,000 Worth of Medication Stolen from Bloomfield Pharmacy

Police officers responded to a burglary call at Bloomfield Pharmacy on 594 Bloomfield Avenue on April 2nd. According to TAPinto, the front window of the pharmacy was shattered and various bottles of pain medication were stolen. The pharmacy owner confirmed that Xanax, Codeine, and cough syrup were among the medications missing (all valued at $1,000) once he arrived at the scene. The incident is currently under investigation.

New Film Studio in West Orange Approved

west orange film studio new jersey

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

On February 1st, the Township of West Orange published a Request for Proposal (RFP) for downtown redevelopment that included plans for a 12.2-acre film studio complex. Included in the plans was a proposal for a film studio complex on approximately 12.2 acres of land on Block 115 of the Redevelopment Area, which includes sections of Standish Avenue and Ashland Avenue. The film studio is envisioned to span between 150,000 and 350,000 square feet and will feature three to six production stages ranging from 20,000 to 30,000 square feet each. Now, the new film studio has officially been approved by the West Orange Township Council. Click here to read everything we know about the film studio coming to this local town.

Stolen Vehicle Leads to Police Burglary in Montclair

Montclair police officers responded to the area surrounding Highland Avenue after receiving information that a stolen 2019 Mercedes Benz from Newark had been tracked in the area on the evening of April 9th. While on the scene, Newark Police contacted Montclair Police and reported that a 2023 Audi SQ8 was seen in Newark traveling at an unusually high rate of speed. The vehicle registration came back to a Highland Avenue address in Montclair. When viewing surveillance, the resident confirmed a burglary took place and the individuals also stole his vehicle while leaving the Audi behind, per Montclair Local. The Montclair Police Department cannot confirm whether or not the two individuals who broke into the home and stole the Audi also stole the Mercedes.

Montclair High School Rowing Alum Wins International Award


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Montclair Rowing (@mhsmensrowing)

Kenneth Coplan, a Montclair High School rowing alumnus, was selected to take part in The Boat Race in London with Cambridge University. The race takes place on the famous Championship Course in London, which stretches more than four miles of the Thames River and is usually attended by over 250,000 spectators and broadcast worldwide. Kenneth was a member of the Montclair Rowing High School Team from 2014 to 2018, where he served as team captain and is the current record holder for the fastest freshman 2k erg time, per Patch. He is currently working on his master’s degree at Cambridge University and is a member of its rowing team.

Brush Fire Makes Smoke Rise Near Newark Airport

A large brush fire along the east side of the New Jersey Turnpike in Elizabeth sent dark smoke into the sky near Newark Liberty International Airport in the afternoon on April 9th. Air traffic at Newark Liberty International Airport was not impacted by the fire. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection also sent out a news release the same day asking the public to be vigilant during the height of wildfire season through May, per NJ.com. It was unclear what caused the fire or if it was under control.

Brookdale Dog Park in Bloomfield Makes ‘Hidden Dog Park Gems’ List

brookdale dog park hidden gem list

The dog park at Brookdale Park in Essex County was included on a top 120 “Hidden Gem Dog Parks” list. Technobark.com ranked Brookdale Park at number 76 based on a survey of 3,000 dog owners across the country. It was praised for offering “separate sections for small and large dogs and a peaceful and well-maintained environment for dogs and their owners to enjoy outdoor recreation,” per the survey.

Funeral Home in Belleville to Be Transformed into Homes

The Belleville Town Council voted in favor of the 272-278 Washington Avenue Redevelopment Plan at its March 26th meeting. According to Patch, the involved properties include the now-shuttered Irvine Cozzarelli Memorial Home on Washington Avenue, which was the setting for many of the wakes and funerals on The Sopranos. The redevelopment plan includes up to 74 residential units that could be built on the site. The building is arguably one of the last surviving historical structures in Belleville as it was built in 1887.

New Web Series, Meet Me In Montclair, Promotes Life in the Suburbs

tanya lashley

^ Tanya Lashley. Photo Credit: Tanya Lashley

Media entrepreneur and comedian Tanya Lashley launched the trailer for her new web series, Meet Me In Montclair, which aired on April 3rd. The series offers viewers a front-row seat to the town of Montclair, highlighting its businesses, landmarks, and beauty. The show follows the story of Lauren, a vibrant girl from Tennessee, who jumps at the chance to relocate for her job to Montclair for a fresh start. Tanya gathered Montclair residents to serve as its cast and crew, per a press release. This is her second web series following Meet Me in Millburn.

Montclair Approves Long-Awaited Senior Center

Montclair’s town council, along with interim town manager Michael Lapolla, approved a long-awaited senior citizen building. According to Montclair Local, it was approved in a 5-0 vote, authorizing the execution of a lease between the Township of Montclair and the Placek Family Foundation, the owners of 60 South Fullerton Avenue, also known as the Mills Social Services Building. Michael reported that the lease agreement is approximately $13,000 a month.

Local Glen Ridge House + Montclair Artist Showcased on PBS + Roku’s This Old House


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by This Old House (@thisoldhouse)


Montclair artist Ann Kraus had three paintings air on PBS and Roku’s This Old House. The show follows various home experts as they renovate homes throughout the United States. In season 45, the crew took on a 137-year-old home in Glen Ridge as the homeowners, Sunita and Shankar, hoped to turn the three-story home into a multigenerational space. They specified wanted to highlight local women artists in the final staging process of the home, and it lead them to finding Ann through Studio Montclair, per Montclair Local. Producers approached Ann and picked three of her acrylic paintings for the show — “Blue Mountain,” “Lake Waramaug,” and “Farmland” — that represent various landscapes with an emphasis on the clouds.

Newark Adopts Curfew for Underage Youth

Newark adopted a curfew for kids under the age of 18 that went into effect on Friday, April 12th. The goal for The Juvenile Safety Initiative is to “reduce the opportunity for children to become crime victims or to become unwittingly engaged in criminal activities,” according to a statement released by Mayor Ras J. Baraka and Public Safety Director Fritz G. Fragé. The new curfew states that unaccompanied minors “more than 100 yards from their home between 11PM and 5:30AM the following day will be given a verbal warning and escorted home where they will be released to their parent or guardian.” No child will be arrested for a curfew violation.

read more new button

also appears in

0 comment