We’re still waiting to experience the early spring predicted by Lady Edwina, the Turtle Back Zoo’s weather prognosticator, but in the meantime, one last football Sunday will help us pass the time. It’s been another big week for news in Essex County. Among the highlights: a Montclair High School student will represent Puerto Rico on the U-17 women’s national soccer team; a Newark mom goes home from the hospital after receiving a life-saving heart transplant; and Essex County launches a restorative justice pilot program for youth. Read on for all the news in Montclair + beyond for the week ending February 11th, 2024.
Among the Headlines:
- Finalists Announced for 2024 Montclair Girl Puppy Bowl
- Montclair Reports Stable Pedestrian Accidents Statistics
- Montclair Honors Eagle Scouts Community Contributions
- Bloomfield College Suspends 6 Athletic Programs
- Newark Gift Card Sale Boosts Local Black-Owned Businesses
- Newark Mom Survives Heart Transplant + Celebrates Son’s First Birthday
- Montclair High School Soccer Player Represents Puerto Rico in 2024 CONCACAF Championship
- Montclair Brewery Honors Essex County Native Whitney Houston + Black History Month with Special Beer
- Montclair Nonprofits Recieve Federal Grants
- Restorative Justice Pilot Program Launched in Essex County
- Approval Granted for Newark’s Largest Cannabis Retailer
- Newark Officials Conduct Audit on Lead
Meet the Finalists of Montclair Girl‘s Puppy Bowl 2024 — CAST YOUR VOTE!
Following the impossible (yet heartwarming) task of deliberating the cutest pups in Essex County, the top nine finalists for our 3rd Annual Montclair Girl Puppy Bowl 2024 have been chosen! Read on for their stories, how we’re giving back to PAWS Montclair (and how you can, too!), and how to vote for your favorite pup to win the 2024 crown here.
MetLife Stadium Will Host the World Cup Final in 2026: What to Know
Soccer enthusiasts around the world look forward to the FIFA World Cup that happens every four years. In 2026, USA, Mexico, and Canada are joining forces to bring together the sports event of the year. As of February 4th, 2024, MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford has been named as the final venue to host the FIFA World Cup 2026 final game. The FIFA World Cup 2026 will take place from June 11th through July 19th, 2026. Read on for more information surrounding the 2026 FIFA World Cup and how to get to and around MetLife Stadium here.
Montclair Art Museum Reopens This Weekend
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The Montclair Art Museum, located at 3 South Mountain Avenue, will reopen this weekend with new exhibits, according to the museum’s social media. The galleries had been closed to prepare for the new exhibits. Read on for more about this local gem here.
Workers Picket Newark Anheuser-Busch Facility
Unionized workers at the Anheuser-Busch factory in Newark held a picket in advance of a February 29th contract negotiation deadline, per Patch. Members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters have voted to authorize a strike should a new contract not be signed, according to The Guardian. Approximately 5,000 members of the Anheuser-Busch staff are members of the union, which means that the strike activities would take place nationwide.
Taqueria Los Güeros Opens Clifton Location
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Popular North Jersey taco chain Taqueria Los Güeros has announced the opening of its new location in Clifton. The new spot will open on Tuesday, February 13th at 590 Route 3 in Clifton. From 11AM to 8PM the team will give away free tacos to customers in celebration of the store’s opening.
Montclair High School Soccer Player Represents Puerto Rico in 2024 CONCACAF Championship
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Montclair Soccer Player, Carla Osborne, a sophomore at Montclair High School, is set to represent Puerto Rico in the 2024 CONCACAF Women’s U-17 Championship on Fox Sports 2 on Sunday, February 11th at 1PM, per MontclairLocal. Carla is known as one of the best defenders in Essex County and secured her spot on the team through a recommendation from a U-17 coach. The tournament, featuring eight countries, serves as a qualifier for the U-17 World Cup, with the top two teams advancing. Carla, also a basketball player for Montclair High School, expressed excitement about the opportunity and will return to her team before the end of the basketball season.
Montclair Honors Eagle Scouts’ Community Contributions
Three Montclair Eagle Scouts, Michael Hadley, Aiden Kwiatkowski, and Liam Varnelis received proclamations from the Town Council for their achievements, per Patch. Each member of BSA Troop 12, one of the oldest in the country, contributed to the community through their Eagle Scouts projects. Michael designed an irrigation system for a community garden, Aiden built planter boxes for Toni’s Kitchen, and Liam repaired pathways in Brookdale Park, enhancing safety and responsibility.
Bloomfield College Suspends 6 Athletic Programs
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Bloomfield College which merged with Montclair State University, has decided to suspend six of its 13 athletic programs indefinitely, starting from the 2024-2025 academic year, per Patch. The impacted sports include men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s soccer, and women’s bowling. The decision affects 23 student-athletes, with no special timeline for the program’s return.
Newark Gift Card Sale Boosts Local Black-Owned Businesses
For a limited time during Black History Month, purchasing a Newark gift card valued at $50 or more comes with a free bonus card for 50% of the purchase price, per Patch. This bonus card is redeemable at participating Black-owned businesses in Newark. The digital gift cards are accepted at over 150 local businesses in the city, offering a boost to the local economy and supporting Black-owned establishments.
Newark Mom Survives Heart Transplant + Celebrates Son’s First Birthday
Naiya Atkins, a first-time mother from Newark, left Newark Beth Israel Medical Center after receiving a heart transplant, per ABC7NY. Naiya had a heart attack just weeks after giving birth, leading to a diagnosis of a rare condition called Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection. Her heart’s condition deteriorated, and by September, a transplant became the only option. Naiya received a new heart on January 5th and left the hospital on January 31st, just in time for her son’s first birthday.
Montclair Reports Stable Pedestrian Accidents Statistics
During a presentation at the Montclair Council meeting on Tuesday, January 30th, Montclair Police Chief Todd Conforti addressed concerns about pedestrian safety, per MontclairLocal. Todd stated that despite resident worries, there has not been an increase in pedestrian accidents in Montclair while presenting data that showed the number of annual crash incidents in Montclair before the pandemic was higher than in 2023. Lieutenant Stephanie Egnezzo emphasized a downward trend in total pedestrian crashes, despite decreased development and traffic in the town. The police department aims to collaborate with the township and county to deploy warning signs at intersections to remind drivers to watch for pedestrians.
Montclair Brewery Honors Essex County Native Whitney Houston + Black History Month with Special Beer
Montclair Brewery is paying tribute to Whitney Houston with a special ale for Black History Month, per a press release. Named the “Whitney Hefeweizen,” the beer boasts sweet and fruity notes and will be released on February 9th at the brewery’s taproom. This annual tradition of releasing beers is to celebrate cultural icons and foster community engagement.
Approval Granted for Newark’s Largest Cannabis Retailer
Smoking Classics, Newark’s largest cannabis dispensary, has received approval to transform vacant car sales in an auto body shop into a 26,000-square-foot cannabis destination at 255-263 Elizabeth Avenue, per Jersey Digs. Set to open this summer, Smoking Classics aims to redefine the Newark cannabis experience by providing an immersive experience, educational spaces, and a wide range of cannabis products.
New Poke Restaurant Opens in Montclair at Former Puebla de Noche Location
New to the dining scene in Montclair is Only Poke, a new restaurant that delivers a fresh take on Poke cuisine. What was once home to Puebla de Noche at 6 Park Street in Montclair, has now transformed into Only Poke. Only Poke held its grand opening on Friday, February 2nd. Read on to learn more about Only Poke in Montclair here.
Montclair Nonprofits Receive Federal Grants
Montclair and federal nonprofits receive a financial boost through federal grants, including Community Development Block Grants and Emergency Services Grants, totaling approximately $5.7 million distributed in Essex County, per Patch. The fund aims to support various community initiatives, such as mental health counseling, shelter operations, and infrastructure improvements. Recipients include organizations like Family Service League and Family Promise of Essex County, contributing to programs enhancing quality of life and neighborhood stability in Montclair and surrounding areas.
Restorative Justice Pilot Program Launched in Essex County
According to a press release from the Office of the Attorney General, Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC) announced the opening of the first of four planned Restorative and Transformative Justice Hubs (RTJ Hubs) in New Jersey. On Monday, February 5th, Attorney General Platkin and JJC Executive Director Dr. Jennifer LeBaron joined Essex County leaders at a ceremony celebrating the opening of the Essex County hub. The center will be located in the City of Newark. The Restorative and Transformative Justice for Youth and Communities Pilot Program was passed by the New Jersey Legislature and signed into law by the late Acting Governor Sheila Y. Oliver in 2021, with the goal of providing community organizations with funding to develop programs in four municipalities (Camden, Newark, Paterson, and Trenton) dedicated to providing a continuum of care to youth, including community-based enhanced diversion and reentry wraparound service.
Newark Officials Conduct Audit on Lead
Newark officials have announced an ongoing audit after lead components were found at three of four properties that should’ve had them replaced, per Patch. Newark and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) are conducting inspections to ensure compliance with lead service line replacement requirements. The city has confirmed that its corrosion control treatment is optimized to protect residents with further audits planned in the coming weeks.