Home Essex CountyBloomfield 21 News Stories You Missed This Week in Montclair + Beyond

21 News Stories You Missed This Week in Montclair + Beyond

by The Montclair Girl Team
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It’s officially the month of romance and football, but these aren’t the only stories making headlines. It’s been an eventful week of noteworthy happenings, and we’ve gathered the latest local news roundup to keep you in the know. Read on for all the news in Montclair + beyond for the week ending February 4th, 2024.

Among the Headlines:

  • Nutley Irish Association Digitizes Past Parade VHS Tapes
  • MESH is Seeking Community Donations for Warming Shelter
  • Essex County Celebrates Muslim Heritage Month + Local Leaders
  • DFIT/FITloft Launches Rebranded Fitness Studio
  • $5K Powerball Ticket Won in Bloomfield’s Brookdale ShopRite
  • 3% New Jersey Toll Increase to Begin in March
  • Montclair Animal Shelter Receives $20K Grant for Seniors + Pets
  • Stolen Artwork Returns to Owner in Newark after 50 Years
  • Montclair Schools Receive Contracts for Minority, Women-Run Businesses
  • Montclair History Center Secures $40K Grant for Disability Assessment Improvements

The Montclair Girl’s 3rd Annual Puppy Bowl 2024 — NOMINATE YOUR PUPS!

puppy bowl 2024

The Montclair Girl’s Annual Puppy Bowl is back for a third year of nominating, voting, and supporting local animal welfare. We can all agree that Essex County is one of the best areas for dog owners and lovers, so sharing photos of your adorable four-legged friend is a must — especially when it’s to help a local non-profit rescue + when prizes are involved. One lucky dog will be crowned the winner of some amazing local prizes. We will also be donating a portion of the sponsorships to PAWS Montclair, and encourage entrants to do the same. The contest will take place from Friday, February 2nd through Thursday, February 15th. Read on for more information here.

Introducing The Montclair Girl’s New Events Calendar

mg events

In a state like New Jersey, no two weekends are ever the same. The weekends are full of happenings — like local restaurants hosting a karaoke night or concerts at local theaters. To stay in the know of all of the local events, The Montclair Girl has been releasing a weekly events guide for residents to use as a guide for weekend planning. Readers and event organizers have been able to email their events for potential inclusion — but, we have made the process quicker and easier. Our self-service events calendar is a NEW feature on our site — giving readers the chance to view upcoming events, and event hosts to post their events for free — before our weekly events article goes live on TheMontclairGirl.com and shared on our socials. Read on to learn about this new website feature and how to submit an event to MG’s new events calendar here.

New Cannabis Dispensary, The Kush Connection, Coming to Montclair

logo for the kush connection

^ Artwork by Julian Gelbard

A long-empty building at 135 Valley Road in Montclair will begin a new chapter in 2024 when cannabis dispensary The Kush Connection moves in. The Kush Connection is a family-owned enterprise with roots right here in Montclair. The Montclair Girl spoke to the team about the business and what neighbors can expect from this new business. Read on for more about The Kush Connection, coming in 2024 to Montclair, NJ here.

Montclair History Center Secures $40K Grant for Disability Assessment Improvements

The Montclair History Center’s plan to enhance disability access at its Orange Road campus received a $40,000 state grant through the New Jersey Cultural Trust’s Capital Historic Preservation Program, per Patch. The initiative aims to implement Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements to the Clark and Nathaniel Crane Houses, enhancing circulation and parking efficiency. Managed by Sionas Architecture and Anderson Engineering Consulting Services, the project aligns with the nonprofit’s goal of creating an inclusive environment for people of all ages and abilities.

Essex County’s Groundhog Predicts Early Spring + Super Bowl Winner


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A post shared by Turtle Back Zoo (@officialturtlebackzoo)


Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., introduced Edwina the groundhog as the new weather predictor during the Groundhog Day event at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo on Wednesday, February 2nd, per a press release. Edwina predicted an early spring as she did not see her shadow. Lady Edwina also forecasted the Los Angeles Rams to win the Super Bowl LVI.

Marty’s Fort Lee Burger Joint Expands to Hackensack


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A post shared by Marty’s Fort Lee/ Jersey City (@martysnj)


Marty’s, a burger spot with locations in Jersey City and Fort Lee, is set to open a new branch on Main Street in Hackensack, per the Daily Voice. The restaurant gained recognition when its Fort Lee location was named the Best Cheeseburger by Yelp in September 2022. Marty’s will open this weekend at 137 Main Street in Hackensack.

Stolen Artwork Returned to Owner in Newark after 50 Years

A stolen painting, The Schoolmistress by John Opie, has been returned to its owner in Newark more than 50 years after it was taken, per a press release. The FBI Salt Lake City office announced the recovery, detailing the paintings’ mysterious journey. The painting was stolen from the Woodfamily’s home in Newark in 1969 and later resurfaced in Florida in 1989. After a recent appraisal for auction in Utah and following a two-year investigation in Salt Lake City and a court ruling from a federal judge, the painting was returned to Dr. Francis Wood, the son of the original owner Earl Leroy Wood.

New Montclair Sandwich Shop Fatto Con Amore Announces Opening Date

fatto con amore montclair

Photo Credit: MediaScher, Photographer Tyler Scher

Fatto Con Amore, a new sandwich shop from Chef Robbie Felice, announced that its opening date is moving to May 2024. The spot will join the growing list of Montclair Hospitality Group and Chef Robbie’s foodie ventures in the North Jersey area, including PastaRAMEN, which opened in 2023. The name means ‘made with love’ in Italian, and the shop will be located at 349 Bloomfield Avenue. Though the official opening isn’t for a few months, locals can indulge in surprise sandwich drops in the meantime — with the next one slated for February 18th. Read on for what we know about the new Montclair sandwich shop Fatto con Amore here.

NJIT Professors + Staff Ratify New Contracts with Approval

Members of the Union Council of Academics at NJIT (UCAN) voted to ratify new work agreements with the New Jersey Institute for Technology (NJIT) in Newark,  with over 99% of union members supporting the contracts, per Patch. The agreements cover adjunct faculty, postdoctoral research, and graduate workers at NJIT through the end of June 2026. The contracts include pay raises, improved job security, and increased support for educators handling large classes.

Montclair Animal Shelter Receives $20K Grant for Seniors + Pets


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A post shared by Montclair Twp Animal Shelter (@montclairtownshipanimalshelter)


Montclair Animal Shelter was awarded a $20K grant from Mars Pet Care for the Seniors and Pets Healthy Living Program, according to Montclair Local. The initiative matches senior residents with senior dogs or cats while covering all care expenses. The program is set to launch in 2024 and aims to enhance seniors’ quality of life through the companionship of pets, promoting physical activity, and socialization.

Montclair Off-Duty Police Officer Saves Life in West Orange


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A post shared by Montclair Police Department (@montclairpolicenj)


Montclair officials commend Officer Scott McGrath for his quick and brave response to a life-threatening situation in West Orange, per a press release. While traveling with his family, Scott encountered a distressed individual, James Brown, and without hesitation, performed CPR and coordinated with emergency services. James’s life was saved and Scott was honored by the community for his dedication to his job even when off-duty.

3% New Jersey Toll Increase to Begin in March

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority has approved a 3% toll increase on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway, set to take effect on March 1st, 2024, per the New Jersey Monitor. Governor Murphy previously disapproved the plan in October but says he plans to approve the 3% toll increase to prioritize the safety and mobility of all New Jersey residents and commuters.

Montclair’s Clary Anderson Arena to Undergo Repairs


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A post shared by Clary Anderson Arena (@clary_anderson)


The Clary Anderson Arena in Montclair is in a state of disrepair, with leaks from the roof and outdated systems, according to Montclair Local. The arena is located at 41 Chestnut Street and has lacked proper upkeep since its construction in the 1970s. The renovations needed include roof and leak repairs, refrigeration system replacement, dehumidification system, and general maintenance. The Montclair Town Council voted 5-2 on January 2nd to approve a feasibility study conducted by the Aubrey Group, assessing the necessary improvements for Essex Park, which includes Clary Anderson Arena. This study is part of a $2.6 billion budget approved for 2024. Residents who have been advocating for the renovation have formally registered Clary Anderson Arena Association as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) to fundraise as support for the renovation and improvement of the arena.

Newark Accepts Applications for Affordable Housing at Rise Level Apartments

Newark officials announce the opening of applications for six affordable housing units at the Rise Level Apartment building on South 17th Street, per Patch. The one and two-bedroom apartments, available at affordable rents, are subject to an income restriction of 80% of the area median income. Newark residents are prioritized under the city’s “first dibs” policy, ensuring they are considered before non-residents.

Nutley Irish Association Digitizes Past Parade VHS Tapes


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A post shared by Nutley Irish Amer Assoc (@nutleyirish)


The Nutley Irish American Association has digitized and shared nostalgic St. Patrick’s Day Parades from 1986, 1987, and 2007 on its newly launched YouTube channel, per Patch. Recovered from old VHS tapes, the videos capture the past parades for viewers to relive these historic moments online. The videos feature on-the-street interviews and post-parade celebrations at Maggie’s Garter in Nutley. The videos can be found here.

NJ Hospital Systems Recognized by Newsweek

Newsweek has recognized NJ hospital systems in its second annual list of America’s Greatest Work Places for Diversity in 2024, per Newsweek. CarePoint, which owns Beyond Medical Center, Hoboken University Medical Center, and Christ Hospital in Jersey City, was one of the hospital systems in New Jersey to make the list. The other NJ hospital system to make the list is RWJBarnabas Health. The study included 78 industries, 223,000 employees, and 1.5 million in-depth company evaluations, highlighting the significance of a diverse workplace in the job market.

MESH Seeks Donations for Warming Shelter


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A post shared by MESH Montclair, NJ (@mesh.montclair)

Montclair Emergency Services of Hope (MESH) seeks community donations as the temperatures drop this winter, according to Montclair Local. The shelter, located at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church at 51 Elm Street in Montclair, faces full capacity amid freezing temperatures. MESH is experiencing funding challenges to provide warming centers, overnight shelters, and meals for the unhoused. Community donations will support its mission to aid individuals in Montclair and neighboring communities during harsh weather conditions.

Essex County Celebrates Muslim Heritage Month + Local Leaders


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A post shared by Essex County Commissioners (@essexcountycommissioners)


The Essex County Board of County Commissioners celebrated Muslim Heritage Month in Newark, honoring local leaders and mourning the recent death of Iman Hassan Sharif, per the New Jersey Muslim Heritage Month Coalition. The event took place on Wednesday, January 24th at 465 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Newark. It aimed to recognize Muslim contributions to Essex County, coinciding with New Jersey’s first-ever Muslim Heritage Month. The honorees included Hassan Abdus-Sabur of Newark, founder of the HBCU Scholarship Bike Ride; Younis Moheisen, the owner of Kings Family Restaurant and Catering in Newark; Baseemah Annette Beasley, chair of the Irvington Democratic Committee; and Jimmy Small of East Orange, president of the Muslim League of Voters in New Jersey. 

Montclair Schools Receive Contracts for Minority, Women-Run Businesses

The Montclair Board of Education has approved the resolution to allocate 20% of contracts from the $188 million bond referendum for school upgrades to minority and women-owned small businesses, per Patch. This initiative aims to promote equity community engagement with designations made before advertising for proposals or bids. Superintendent Jonathan Ponds emphasized the district’s commitment to attracting local businesses in fostering a sense of community. This follows a previous decision in September 2023 to require unionized workers for projects exceeding $5 million.

DFIT/FITloft Launches Rebranded Fitness Studio


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A post shared by We are FITloft. (@fitloft_mtc)


DFIT/FITloft will launch its re-branded location that is under new ownership, FITloft, at 4 Erie Street in Montclair in February, according to an email from the FITloft team. FITloft is an industrial loft space that specializes in private training and dynamic classes. The facility will feature amenities such as on-site parking, locker rooms, an InBody Scanner, state-of-the-art equipment, a private yoga studio, and a separate group class studio. The facility also has over 40 weekly classes, certified trainers, on-site wellness amenities, and additional services like massage and physical therapy.

$5K Powerball Ticket Sold in Bloomfield’s Brookdale ShopRite

Bloomfield’s Brookdale ShopRite at 1409 Broad Street sold a winning Powerball ticket worth $5,000, per a press release from the New Jersey Lottery. The ticket matched four of five numbers plus the red Powerball for January 22nd. The winning numbers were 24, 25, 43, 52, 63 and the red Powerball was 21.

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