Home Essex CountyBelleville 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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We’re wrapping up another wild week of weather as New Jersey anticipates Memorial Day weekend coming soon. 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 Montclair Jazz Fest returns for 2024; quintuplets graduate from Montclair State University; and a Montclair man is setting out to bike over 1,000 miles to raise awareness about improving health for black Americans. Read on for all the news in Essex County for the week ending May 19th, 2024.

Have a news story or press release? Email it to [email protected].


Among the Headlines:

  • Montclair Jazz Fest Returns for 2024
  • Montclair Native Makes Team USA Climbing for Summer 2024 Olympic Games
  • Annual AAPI Montclair’s Lantern Fest Returns
  • West Orange Students Designing Prosthetic Leg for Dog
  • Montclair Public Library Launches ‘All Our Voices’ Initiative
  • Belleville Man Drowns at Spring Lake
  • Beloved Montclair Hardware Store to Close After 131 Years
  • Controversial Overhaul of Open Public Records Act Passes Through Legislature
  • Baldwin Equities to Add 63 Affordable Housing Units in Newark
  • Quintuplets Graduate from Montclair State University
  • Montclair Teen Makes Debut in A-List Film ‘Ezra’
  • Routine Fire Hydrant Flushing Begins in Bloomfield
  • ‘Bubble Planet: An Immersive Experience’ to Open at American Dream in June
  • Montclair Native to Bike 1,000+ Miles to Raise Awareness About Improving Health for Black Americans
  • N.J. Transit to Make Changes This Summer

Montclair Jazz Fest Returns for 2024

montclair jazz festival nj

The Ivy at Chatham

One of Montclair’s most lively events is returning for 2024. Hosted by local nonprofit Jazz House Kids, the first event of the 2024 Montclair Jazz Festival kicked off this past Thursday, May 16th, and will continue throughout the summer leading up to the 2024 Downtown Jamboree on September 14th. With a history that dates back to 2010, Jazz House Kids has been hosting these events each year. Click here to learn more about what’s happening at the 2024 Montclair Jazz Festival.


Montclair Native Makes Team USA Climbing for Summer 2024 Olympic Games

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Jesse Grupper (@yayjesse_g)

 

Jesse Grupper of Upper Montclair has been officially selected to represent Team USA as part of the Climbing team at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. He won gold at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago in boulder and lead that led him to earn his spot. Jesse showed an interest in climbing at six years old after his parents signed his sister up to try the sport, per TeamUSA.com.


Annual AAPI Montclair’s Lantern Fest Returns

aapi montclair lantern festival 2023

As it’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the fourth Lantern Festival for Justice and Remembrance is all set for tonight. Hosted by local non-profit AAPI Montclair, the free event will take place at Edgemont Park in Montclair tonight, May 19th, from 6PM-9PM, and include thousands of lanterns that will light up the sky. In case of inclement weather, the rain date is set for June 9th. For more details about the 2024 Lantern Festival in Montclair, read MG’s article here.


West Orange Students Designing Prosthetic Leg for Dog

Students at West Orange High School are designing a prosthetic leg for Cody the Tripod Dog through a partnership between the school’s technology and engineering department, Boonton-based tech studio DiveDesign, and Madison-based nonprofit Creature Comfort Pet Therapy. According to Patch West Orange, Cody is a rescue who was found abandoned in Puerto Rico with a badly mangled leg that required amputation. DiveDesign will be guiding the students through the creative process of manufacturing technologies and offering feedback,  all while potentially crafting a new leg for Cody.


Montclair Public Library Launches ‘All Our Voices’ Initiative

 

Montclair Public Library (MPL) has begun an initiative titled “All Our Voices” to remind people that public libraries are welcoming community hubs offering multiple resources for people from all different backgrounds. The Montclair Public Library Foundation board members and staff created a video announcing the resources it has while speaking in their native languages to highlight that “all are welcome at their library,” per MontclairLocal. The initiative highlights the library’s current world language resources including Mango, an accessible online language-learning system and language classes offered through the Adult School of MPL.


Belleville Man Drowns at Spring Lake

A 23-year-old man from Belleville was found floating face down and was pulled from the surf in Spring Lake on May 5th. Authorities were called to the beach at St. Clair Avenue at 2:05PM where they pulled him out to perform life-saving measures before being taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, where he was pronounced dead. According to Patch Wall, no lifeguards were on site since they are not on duty until Memorial Day weekend. The victim’s name is being withheld pending notification of family members.


Beloved Montclair Hardware Store to Close After 131 Years

Saunders Hardware, located at 627 Valley Road in Montclair, is set to close in the next few months “until the shelves are all empty.” Owner Tom Vultee bought the store from Dick Saunders in 1998 and helped keep community as the core value of its name by employing family members and local students. Tom decided to sell the building to a friend he has known for 30 years after the pressures of big-name competitors, inflation, and high interest rates started to weigh down the business. According to MontclairLocal, he promises that the unnamed friend will turn the building into a “Montclair friendly location.” There is no final decision on what the building will become.


Controversial Overhaul of Open Public Records Act Passes Through Legislature

The New Jersey Legislature passed a controversial overhaul to the state’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA) on May 13th. OPRA, which replaced the state’s Right to Know Law when it was enacted 22 years ago, was designed to expand public access to government records. It’s now headed to Governor Murphy’s desk and being challenged by advocacy groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Jersey for limiting government transparency, per CBS News. Senate President Nicholas Scutari, a co-sponsor of the bill, commented that the goal is to “keep public agencies from being inundated with more requests than they can handle.” The ACLU has stated it will be writing to Governor Murphy to motivate him to veto the bill.


Newly Renovated Young Adult Section Debuts at Glen Ridge Public Library

The Glen Ridge Public Library has recently opened its newly renovated Young Adult section. According to MontclairLocal, the improvements– which include more seating, a laptop bar, and pickup lockers– are part of the library’s five-year plan of adhering to community needs. Other improvements to the Young Adult section include new book releases, a new water fountain, and three genre categories consisting of fiction, graphic, and Manga.


The Results Are In: Montclair Election 2024

election day montclair 2022

On May 14th, 2024 Montclair residents voted on a mayoral candidate and council candidates. Although the results are not yet certified, MG can report that Renée E. Baskerville was elected Mayor while Susan Shin Anderson and Carmel Loughman were elected Councilmembers At-Large. Click here to see the 2024 Montclair NJ Election 2024 results.


Baldwin Equities to Add 63 Affordable Housing Units in Newark

Real estate developer Baldwin Equities announced on May 7th that the latest updates regarding over 370,000 square feet of luxury residential apartments in Newark will include four unique properties. The four properties will be located on Broad Street, Washington Street, and William Street. It’s being reported that twenty percent of all Baldwin residential units will be affordable and will add 63 brand new units, per ROI-NJ.com.


Quintuplets Graduate from Montclair State University

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Montclair State University (@montclairstateu)

 

The Povolo quintuplets – Victoria, Ludovico, Ashley, Michael, and Marcus – made history as they all graduated one after the other at Montclair State University’s Commencement at Prudential Center on Monday, May 13th. It is believed to be the first time quints have simultaneously graduated from an institute of higher learning in New Jersey, per Patch Montclair. The siblings credit their parents, Paolo and Silvia Povolo – a building engineer for Cushman & Wakefield and an assistant housekeeping supervisor for the University, respectively – for encouraging them to follow their dreams and instilling both the importance of education and a strong work ethic.


Newark to Resume ‘Love Newark Keep it Clean’ Campaign

 

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

 

Mayor Ras J. Baraka of Newark announced on Wednesday, May 8th that the Department of Public Works (DPW) is resuming its “Love Newark Keep it Clean” campaign two Saturdays a month. According to a press release from the city, the campaign aims to distribute cleaning materials such as trash bags, brooms, and shovels necessary to remove litter and bulky trash from each ward. The campaign will start on Saturday, May 18th, and continue through Saturday, September 28th, taking place between 7:30AM-3PM on each day.


Montclair Teen Makes Debut in A-List Film Ezra

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Montclair Film (@montclairfilm)

 

William Fitzgerald, a 15-year-old Montclair native, has landed the lead role in the latest Hollywood film, Ezra, directed by Tony Goldwyn. The film is about the relationship between a father and his autistic son amid co-parenting struggles and was filmed at various locations in New Jersey for five weeks in September 2022, per MontclairLocal. It also features actors Robert De Niro, Bobby Cannavale, Whoopi Goldberg, Vera Farmiga, and Rainn Wilson. Montclair Film hosted a special screening and Q&A with the director, Bobby Cannavale, and William Fitzgerald on May 11th. Ezra will be released in theaters nationwide starting on May 31st.


Routine Fire Hydrant Flushing Begins in Bloomfield

The Bloomfield Fire Department, along with the Bloomfield Engineering Department, has begun routine, mandatory hydrant flushing as of May 9th. According to InsiderNJ, there are an estimated 1200 fire hydrants in the township that will be serviced and the process may take approximately five months to complete. This will not affect the safety of the water. Notifications will be made ahead of time via the township cable channel (Channel 35), the township website, and the township Facebook page about which hydrants will be flushed.


Bubble Planet: An Immersive Experience to Open at American Dream in June

Following its world premiere in Milan and expansion into Los Angeles, Brussels, and London, Bubble Planet: An Immersive Experience is set to make its East Coast debut at American Dream Mall in June. The exhibit includes eight uniquely themed rooms that feature an enormous bubble bath ball pit, a virtual reality room, an undersea LED room, and an endless infinity experience. The experience is for all ages and takes up to 90 minutes, per NorthJersey.com. Tickets will be available for purchase starting at $18.90 for children and $26.90 for adults. Guests can now join the waiting list online to get early access to tickets.


Montclair Native to Bike 1,000+ Miles to Raise Awareness About
Improving Health for Black Americans

Kirk Charles, a 61-year-old Montclair resident, will take a more than 1,000-mile bike trip from Columbus Circle in New York City to Chicago with an ending date of June 5th. This effort is to help raise awareness about the importance of plant-based nutrition in reversing chronic diseases among African Americans after Kirk started following a whole-food, plant-based diet when he was diagnosed with high blood pressure in 2017. Following a knee injury two years ago, he shifted from running to cycling and joined the Major Taylor Cycling Club of New Jersey. According to a press release from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Kirk said, “If I can do this, anyone can… I thought it might be more effective to show people rather than talk about it.”


J. Nunez Gallery of Millburn Expands to Summit

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by J Nunez Gallery- Fine art and photography (@jnunezgallery)

 

Millburn’s J. Junez Gallery, founded by Jesus Nunez, has recently opened a second location at 13 Ashwood Avenue in Summit. The new space is dedicated to showcasing non-abstract and representational artists along with photographers and art disciplines. The core mission of the gallery group is to represent local and women artists in order to actively combat the gender gap in the art industry. A portion of all proceeds raised goes to support a non-profit organization of its choosing every month, per its website. Its hours are 10AM-4PM from Tuesday through Saturday. It is closed Sunday and Monday.


Montclair 4th of July Parade Seeking Participants + Sponsors

The Montclair Celebrates July 4th Committee is seeking donations and sponsors to help fund the cost of its festivities. According to a press release from the committee, a fundraising event will take place on May 30th at Just Jake’s from 5PM-9PM to formally introduce this year’s Grand Marshals that consist of five senior citizen organizations. The event will also feature guest bartenders that include “Montclair legends,” a DJ, and a raffle for various prizes. The Montclair community is highly encouraged to attend the fundraiser to celebrate this tradition as businesses, organizations, and residents are wanted to march in the parade to show community spirit and pride.


TASCA Opens in Montclair

Tasca, located at 377 Bloomfield Avenue, celebrated its grand opening on Friday May 17th. Per Patch Montclair, the restaurant specializes in Portuguese and Spanish cuisines, and has a sangria menu. The team behind TASCA has roots in the NYC dining scene.


N.J. Transit to Make Changes This Summer

nj transit

Starting this summer, changes are coming to NJ Transit and for those who drive into Manhattan. In addition to a July fare hike on NJ Transit, a new policy will change one-way tickets to a 30-day expiration period. All of this is happening against the backdrop of the looming congestion fees for drivers going into Manhattan, which will take effect on June 30th. While various parties fight about the issues in court, the reality is that commuters have to face increased charges on July 1st, whether on the roads or the rails. Click here to find out what MG knows about this summer’s transit changes in New Jersey.


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