Home Essex CountyBelleville 23 News Stories You Missed This Week in Montclair + Beyond

23 News Stories You Missed This Week in Montclair + Beyond

by The Montclair Girl Team
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Temperatures across the Garden State have been up and down this week, making us more aware of Earth Day being tomorrow. 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: the North to Shore Festival announces ‘Paul Giamatti In Conversation with Stephen Colbert,’ Newark postpones its curfew for teens, and a Verona church rebounds after an arson incident. Read on for all the news in Essex County for the week ending April 21st, 2024.

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

Among the Headlines:

  • AAPI Montclair’s Lantern Festival Returns for 2024
  • Jimmy Buff’s Wins ‘Best Hot Dog in the State’ Title
  • Montclair Council Recognizes Late Community Leader, Ronald Murphy
  • Jazz House Kids Announces Lineup for Montclair Jazz Festival Soundcheck Series
  • Montclair Public Library Starts Free ‘Meet With a Social Worker’ Program
  • 2024 North to Shore Festival Announces ‘Paul Giamatti In Conversation with Stephen Colbert’
  • Newark Postponing Curfew for Teens
  • New Burger Spot, Dan + Day’s, Opens in Montclair
  • Alto at the MC Hotel Kicks off Summer Season
  • Nuts + Delights: Montclair Center’s Newest Addition

AAPI Montclair’s Lantern Festival Returns for 2024


The Ivy at Chatham
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AAPI New Jersey is set to host its fourth annual Lantern Festival for Justice and Remembrance on May 19th (with a rain date of June 9th). The festival lights thousands of lanterns in remembrance of “those killed and harmed by violence and injustice, including anti-Asian hate,” per a press release from the organization. The event will include performances, speakers, family-friendly activities, food, and more. It will take place from 6PM-9PM and admission is free with donations accepted here. Additional event details will be posted on the organization’s website in the coming weeks. Read more about the 2024 festival in our article here.

West Orange Students Advocate for Changing Driving Laws

Tatiana Garcia, Krish Patel, and 14 other members of the Youth Advisory Board of the Nikhil Badlani Foundation at West Orange High School helped advocate for the new legislative change affecting new drivers. According to Montclair Local, permit holders under the age of 21 must complete a minimum of 50 hours of mandated driving practice with ten at night. A guardian or anyone supervising the driving must certify the hours. In November 2023, the students testified before the Senate Budget + Appropriations Committee in Trenton to support the new legislation before Governor Phil Murphy signed the law this past January.

Jimmy Buff’s Wins ‘Best Hot Dog in the State’ Title


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Jimmy Buff’s, founded in 1932 in Newark by James Racioppi, was voted ‘Best Hot Dog’ by the first annual North Jersey Eats Hot Dog Madness bracket on NorthJersey.com. The contest was reportedly close, with the longtime business beating out runner-up JJ’s Hot Dogs in Newark. It’s known for its sandwiches complete with an onions, peppers, and potato combination. Although the original location is now closed, it still has two locations open in Kenilworth and West Orange.

Thomas Edison National Historical Park Hosts Grand Re-Opening of the Black Maria

The Thomas Edison National Historical Park (NHP) hosted a grand re-opening for the Black Maria, a replica of the world’s first motion picture studio on April 20th. Barnard College senior Caroline Itzkoff also spoke on “Thomas Edison: America’s First Mass Media Mogul” immediately following the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The building has been under construction over the past two years and was funded by the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) and the Edison Innovation Foundation for almost $162,000, per a press release from the NHP. The renovation included repairs, new exterior sheathing, electrical upgrades, and a ramp for more accessibility.

Jazz House Kids Announces Lineup for Montclair Jazz Festival Soundcheck Series


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Nonprofit organization Jazz House Kids recently announced the lineup for its 2024 Montclair Jazz Festival Soundcheck Series. The bi-monthly concert program will start on April 25th and take place at the Jazz House, 347 Bloomfield Avenue, in Montclair. The Series will lead up to the Jazz House Kids-produced 15th annual Montclair Jazz Festival Downtown Jamboree on September 14th. According to Patch, headliners include trumpeter Freddie Hendrix, tap dancer Michela Lerman Marino, Latin jazz trombonist Juanga Lakunza, drummer Winard Harper, and many more. Each event will be followed by a two-hour jam session where all musicians are welcome. Tickets and details can be viewed online here.

Montclair Council Recognizes Late Community Leader, Ronald Murphy

The late Ronald Murphy, longtime Essex County resident and leader at the Montclair Public Library, was memorialized at the Montclair Township Council Meeting on April 10th. Montclair councilman Roger Terry read a proclamation in Ronald’s honor at the meeting, per Patch. Ronald was a vital part of the community as he helped dozens of librarians get through librarian school and served on multiple committees like the Glenfield Park Advisory Board and the Essex County Youth and Rehabilitation Commission. He was “an advisor, mentor, friend, and surrogate father to countless others.” Read Ronald’s full obituary here.

Montclair Public Library Starts Free ‘Meet With a Social Worker’ Program


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Montclair residents can now meet with a social worker one-on-one with its newly launched, free program funded by the Partners for Health Program. This program comes as a tool for the library “to grow deeper into our role as a trusted information center and to respond to the community’s ever-changing needs,” per Library Director Janet Torsney via Montclair Local. The service can be reserved in advance or on a walk-in, first-come first-served basis at varying hours on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Members of the public are encouraged to come by to ask about college information, resources for emotional development and coping skills, job assistance, and time management.

Newark Postponing Curfew for Teens

The Newark curfew for teens that MG reported on last week has been “temporarily postponed” until further notice. The reason hasn’t been given by the city as of yet, per Patch. Mayor Ras J. Baraka assured that they are “enforcing an ordinance that already exists” and will hold a press conference to explain details of the new curfew and other programs “to ensure summertime safety and enjoyment.”

Woman Charged in Shooting Montclair Police Officer

montclair crime

Maryann Swain, a 39-year-old resident of Montclair, has been charged with aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of a child, unlawful possession of a weapon, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose by firing a weapon after she struck a Montclair police officer on the 100 block of Forest Street on April 15th. As a result, according to Montclair Local, all Montclair Public School buildings in the area as well as the Montclair Cooperative School students and staff were instructed to shelter in place. An officer returned fire resulting in striking Maryann back and both were transported to University Hospital in Newark for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. The police officer has since been released from the hospital and Maryann remains in recovery. No students or staff of any schools were harmed.

Sewerage Commission Gives $9k to Bloomfield for Rebate Program

The Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC) recently awarded more than half of a million dollars in rebates to local towns as part of its Municipal Rebate Incentive Program. According to Patch, the list of recipients for this year included Bloomfield, which was given $9,735. The program sets out to ensure that all new construction projects conform to a large set of highly regulated requirements and descriptive codes, that the applicable connection fee is paid, and all member towns get some help offsetting the costs of basic services.

2024 North to Shore Festival Announces ‘Paul Giamatti In Conversation with Stephen Colbert’


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Montclair Film, New Jersey’s leading film non-profit organization, announced via a press release that actor Paul Giamatti will join Stephen Colbert at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark as part of the second annual North to Shore Festival. The conversation will take place on June 29th at 8PM and will celebrate Paul’s award-winning career. Tickets are available online and at the NJPAC Box Office at One Center Street. All proceeds will benefit Montclair Film, per a press release from Frank PR.

Danielle Kelly Named ‘Teacher of the Year’ by Bloomfield Educational Foundation

Danielle Kelly was named District Teacher of the Year by the Bloomfield Educational Foundation. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Montclair State University and has taught in Bloomfield and Carteret since she was a student teacher. Danielle teaches in a third-grade Inclusion Class and holds many other titles in the district, per TAPinto. She is set to be honored at the 2024 Bloomfield Educational Foundation (BEF) Gala honoring other members of the Bloomfield community which will take place on April 24th at Nanina’s in the Park in Belleville.

Bloomfield Couple Uses Wooden Possum to Protest Virginia Pipeline


Jane Califf and Ted Glick, a married couple from Bloomfield who’ve been together for 45 years, recently made international headlines when they raised awareness about a controversial pipeline in Virginia in a unique way: using a giant wooden possum to block construction crews from entering the site. They locked themselves inside the possum on April 10th on Honeysuckle Road in Roanoke County, temporarily blocking work on the Mountain Valley Pipeline, per Patch. The pipeline has reportedly been delayed for years over legal and permitting issues and is costing over $7 billion. Jane and Ted are protesting that it would have “serious environmental consequences” for nearby residents.

Newark High School Qualified to Be of ‘National Landmark Status’

Weequahic High School, located at 279 Chancellor Avenue in Newark, was named to New Jersey’s Register of Historic Places through the efforts of Newark Landmarks in November 2023. According to Jersey Digs, it is now eligible for listing on the National Register. The recognition further cements the legacy of its designer Guilbert + Betelle, a Newark-based firm that was well known in its foundation of 1933 but has since faded.

New Burger Spot, Dan + Day’s, Opens in Montclair

dan + days milkshake in front of the store

Dan and Dayanna Campeas, the husband-and-wife team behind the now-closed Stuffed Grassfed Burgers, have officially opened the doors to their latest burger venture Dan + Day’s Burgers + Shakes. Located at 598 Valley Road, Dan + Day’s may have a new name and new space, but the menu features some OG faves from Stuffed GB. Click here to read more about this new burger spot in Upper Montclair.

Verona Church Rebounds After Arson Incident

The Archdiocese of Newark announced that Our Lady of the Lake Parish is hoping to reopen before the end of the month after a Verona resident allegedly committed arson around April 4th. While no one was injured in the fire and the infrastructure is stable, the church is still heavily damaged, per Patch. The church is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and plans to continue its lineup of celebratory events. The next event is a golf outing at West Orange’s Francis A. Byrne Golf Course on May 13th followed by a picnic on the parish grounds on June 23rd.

Out Montclair Expands Board + Appoints Executive Director


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Out Montclair, a leading advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion in Montclair has added eight new members to its board. It has also appointed Marie Cottrell as Executive Director, per a press release from the organization. She was previously the Managing Director where she has produced successful Pride events and inclusive programming. The mission of Out Montclair is to “raise awareness, foster a supportive environment, and provide support and solidarity for the LGBTQIA+ community.”

Glen Ridge Educators Express Concerns Over District Budget

Glen Ridge educators voiced concerns about how the loss of some funding will affect student outcomes and raised questions about how students’ needs will be met. The Glen Ridge Board of Education presented its tentative budget for the next school year on March 5th, which excluded a Title 1 grant that the district has been receiving for nine years, per Montclair Local. The grant has been used to fund two teachers who provide intensive math support for 140 elementary students across the district. Parents or other community members with questions or concerns about eliminating the math intervention program are encouraged to contact the Board of Education before the budget is approved on April 30th.

Joker Sequel Trailer Drops Highlighting Essex County Isolation Center


The first trailer for Joker: Folie à Deux, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Lady Gaga, premiered on April 9th. The trailer showed a little bit of the shuttered Essex County Isolation Center, (located at 204 Grove Avenue in Belleville) as it poses as the infamous Arkham Asylum, known for where Batman’s villains often end up after causing chaos in Gotham City. They wrapped filming there almost a year ago, per Daily Voice. The film is set to release exclusively in theaters on October 4th.

Nuts + Delights: Montclair’s Newest Mediterranean Eatery

coffee pastry shop nuts delights montclair

The latest addition to Montclair Center, Nuts + Delights, is soon to be a favorite spot for residents and visitors alike. The family-owned cafe specializes in Turkish treats, as the owner, Mustafa Embre, has a culinary background and an eye for patisserie. That plus a sweet tooth means the menu is chock-full of coffee drinks, treats, nuts, and more. Click here to read more about Nuts + Delights.

Alto Kicks Off Summer Season

allergory restaurant alto rooftop bar montclair mc hotel nyc views

Alto at the MC Hotel in Montclair is one of MG’s favorite spots for a celebratory beverage, hosting a party, or just enjoying the view of Manhattan. This rooftop bar will kick off the season on Thursday, April 25th, debuting new menu items, expanded hours, and a new lineup of hand-crafted cocktails. Click here to read more about this fantastic addition to Montclair.

Bloomfield Suburban Youth Basketball Teams Earn Back-to-Back Championship Titles

Two of Bloomfield’s Suburban Youth Basketball Teams, the 8th Grade Boys and 6th Grade Girls teams, were honored at Monday’s Township Council meeting. They were recognized for placing first and second, respectively, in their Essex County Suburban Basketball League divisions this season. According to TAPinto, both teams have now won back-to-back championships as last season was also a success. The Boys team was coached by Jovan Epps with David Williams as the assistant coach. The Girls team was coached by Zeke Harvey with assistant coach Franco Salandra.

‘Plant Based for the Planet’ Returns to Montclair


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Plant Based for the Planet is a fun way to help the environment, and it’s right on time for Earth Day. Participating restaurants have special plant-based dishes to encourage diners to opt for a plant-based diet, even if for one meal. The goal is to educate consumers about the environmental merits of a plant-based diet. Click here for more.

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