With Halloween in the rearview mirror, it’s time to turn our attention to Thanksgiving. It’s been another busy week in Essex County and we’ve got all the headlines to get you caught up. Among the highlights: another dispensary is coming to Bloomfield; Montclair residents rally for safer streets; and a popular Newark restaurant gets a second location. Read on for more news from Montclair, Bloomfield, and beyond for the week ending November 12th, 2023.
Best of Montclair Guide 2023: Nominate Your Favorite Local Businesses!
It’s that time of year again — our third annual Best of Montclair 2023 Guide is back! Just like last year, it’s time to nominate your favorite local businesses, people, and places in Montclair and the greater Essex County area for an award. Submit as many nominations as you want from now until Tuesday, November 14th. As always, we have lots of categories for the Montclair area — ranging from the ‘Best Gift Shop’ to ‘Best Chicken Parm’ to ‘Best Cocktails’ and more. These reader-selected awards give businesses bragging rights for months (and sometimes years) to come. Read on to cast your ballot for your favorites.
West Orange High School Senior Publishes Poetry Collection
West Orange High School senior Makayla Rivera has already published her first book, which is a collection of poems. Per Patch, Makayla started experimenting with poetry as a middle schooler. She has won several prizes for her poetry and has been invited to participate as a Youth Storyteller at Georgetown Law School’s Georgetown Law Gender, Justice, and Opportunity Initiative.
Community Group Raises Over $2K For Domestic Violence Survivors
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The Rachel Coalition, a division of the Jewish Family Service of MetroWest NJ, recently hosted its annual Community Education Luncheon, which doubled as a fundraiser. According to Patch, the group raised over $2,100 in gift cards to support victims of domestic violence. The Rachel Coalition aims to assist victims of domestic violence, intimate partner violence, and individuals living in high-conflict relationships.
North Jersey Awarded $4.2 Billion for Infrastructure Improvements
The New Jersey Congressional Delegation announced over $4 billion has been committed to improving transit in Northern New Jersey under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). According to the Hudson County View, $3.8 billion has been earmarked for the Hudson Tunnel, part of the Hudson Gateway project. Leaders said that the remaining funds would go to other infrastructure projects in the area including roads and bridges.
New Cannabis Dispensary ‘Nightjar’ Coming to Bloomfield
Photo credit: Francesca DeRogatis
A new cannabis dispensary is coming to Bloomfield. Nightjar is a women- and minority-owned, social equity-driven cannabis dispensary opening at 549 Bloomfield Avenue before the end of the year. Nightjar is led by the founders Francesca DeRogatis, Katie Covett, and Amanda Rositano. Read on to learn about Nightjar cannabis dispensary coming to Bloomfield and the team behind it.
Suspect Arrested in Newark Carjacking, Amber Alert
An Amber alert was triggered on Tuesday, October 31st after a Newark man was carjacked, the alleged thief driving off with the man’s toddler still in the car, according to NBC New York. On Friday, November 3rd, a suspect was arrested in connection with the crime. Newark resident Shanita N. Rose faces charges including carjacking, kidnapping, and child endangerment, according to NJ.com.
Montclair’s Coffee + Cornbread Reopens in Belleville
In 2017, two New Jersey sisters ventured to bring something different to the Montclair food scene: comfort food with a conscience. What arose out of this dream was Coffee + Cornbread, a local breakfast staple serving just that, but with organic ingredients and vegan options. Now, nearly six years later, Monique + Monica are leaving Montclair and headed for Belleville, after an unfortunate scam incident that effectively drained funds the duo had saved for an upcoming renovation. Coffee + Cornbread officially closed its 38 Upper Montclair Plaza location on Sunday, November 5th, but you can continue to support this local business at 500 Cortlandt Street in Belleville in the coming weeks. Read on for what we know about Coffee + Cornbread’s Montclair closure + its relocation to Belleville as a takeout and delivery spot.
Harvey’s Handrolled Bagels Closing in Montclair; Walnut Street Bagels + Co. to Take Over
Over the past year, Harvey’s Handrolled Bagels at 98 Walnut Street in Montclair has been a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. The bagel shop owner, Matt Harvey, had a passion for the art of bagel making and brought his vision to life during the pandemic. As of November 3rd, the bagel shop announced its closure on Instagram to take effect on November 10th and will be replaced with a new bagel concept, Walnut Street Bagels and Co. Read on for what we know about the closure and the new bagel concept to replace the spot.
Studio Montclair PresentsThe Life + Culture Of Modern Day Latinidad
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Via a press release, Studio Montclair (SMI), in collaboration with Latinos of Montclair, announced The Life and Culture of Modern Day Latinidad, on exhibit from November 10th through December 22th, 2023, at Studio Montclair Gallery, 127 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair, NJ. The Life and Culture of Modern Day Latinidad, juried by artist José Camacho, celebrates the rich visual language of Latino culture and heritage. It features the expressions of a multicultural community and its diverse tapestry of backgrounds, stories, and experiences, encompassing the works of artists, many with cultural and ancestral ties to Mexico, Argentina, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Chile, and Peru.
Six-Story Storage Facility Coming to Newark
Plans for a new, six-story storage facility in Newark will move forward now that a financing agreement is in place. Per Jersey Digs, the facility at 305 Wilson Avenue has already been approved by the city will add 1,332 storage units to a former auto salvage yard. The facility will be leased and operated by Extra Space Storage.
Montclair Co-Operative School Celebrates 60 Years
^ A newspaper story celebrating the opening of the Co-Op. Photo credit: Montclair Co-Operative School
According to a press release, the Montclair Co-Operative School will celebrate 60 years of providing progressive education to children during the 2023-2024 school year. The Co-op begins its seventh decade with a renewed emphasis on its message of inclusion, community orientation and joyful learning. The Co-op was Montclair’s first inter-racial, inter-economic, interfaith nursery school in Montclair. Alumni and friends are invited to participate in several anniversary celebrations throughout the year.
Fort Lee Sues Over Congestion Pricing Based on Environmental, Health Concerns
In an effort to stop NYC’s plans for congestion pricing, the city of Fort Lee has sued the Federal Highway Administration and New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority in a class action suit, alleging that the increased traffic would increase air pollution, harming residents. According to NJ.com, this is the second type of suit based on environmental concerns in relation to the congestion pricing plan. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy filed a suit in June 2023 challenging the FHWA’s environmental impact findings regarding the congestion plan.
Montclair Non-Profit Appoints Four New Trustees
Four new trustees have been appointed to the board of the Schumann Fund for New Jersey, a Montclair-based non-profit that focuses on supporting early childhood development programs and preschool education in Essex County. Per Patch, the organization has contributed more than $86 million to the community since its founding in 1986. The new appointees are Marla Higginbotham, Carlos Lejnieks, Joseph Matara, and Rhonda Robinson.
Brothers Building A Better Nation (BBABN) Launches “Operation Safe Space in Newark
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Brothers Building A Better Nation (BBABN), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is thrilled to announce the launch of its groundbreaking pilot program, “Operation Safe Space”, according to a press release. With a strong commitment to empowering young BIPOC men, BBABN has been dedicated to providing pathways to improved opportunities, enhancing well-being, and integrating of individuals into a supportive community, according to a press release. As a prominent advocate for community well-being, BBABN recognizes the pressing need to address various issues within the community, including infrastructure improvement, limited employment opportunities, poverty, and substance abuse “Operation Safe Space” represents a unique solution to these challenges. The program focuses on the enovation of local homes while providing valuable construction-based vocational training to participants. Read more about the organization in MG’s story here.
Montclair Residents Mobilize for Safer Streets
Following another pedestrian death on Montclair’s roadways, citizens are taking matters into their own hands. An online petition has been launched by the citizen group Montclair Safer Streets calling for increased traffic enforcement and lower speed limits. Citizens have also put together a presentation and a YouTube video to educate lawmakers.
Montclair Residents Ask Planning Board to Step Into Woodman Field Discussions
Montclair residents, frustrated with what they say is a lack of transparency from officials, have asked the Planning Board to step in in conversations about the future of the trees at Woodman Field. According to Montclair Local, the School Board has not communicated its plans for the field as clearly as they would like, and residents want the Planning Board to be fully informed about what’s happening. In a recent status update, the school superintendent said that the safety and well-being of student-athletes was a top priority.
After a review by Montclair Planner Janice Talley, the school board will be required to submit its plans to the Zoning Board, according to an update from Montclair Local.
Verdict in West Orange Bagel Case
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A West Orange bagel shop owner has been fighting against what he calls the unfair application of town rules governing window coverings in restaurant windows. According to Patch, Jarrett Seltzer, owner of Bagels by Jarrett, has been in a dispute with the city since the summer, and now the argument has escalated to a lawsuit. The two sides filed final motions on October 24th. The decision came down in favor of the City, while Jarrett has vowed to appeal the decision.
Newark’s Uncle Willie’s Wings Opens Second Location
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Uncle Willie’s Wings, a Newark-based restaurant, opened its latest location at The Junction at the Gateway at a ribbon-cutting ceremony with owner Walter Green, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, and others. According to Patch, the restaurant opened in 2019 and was quickly facing a changed reality because of COVID-19. Walter credits the community surrounding his restaurant for its success, saying that serving meals to community members and healthcare workers helped him stay focused on the restaurant’s success.
Fur Up-Cycling Drive with Humane Montclair
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For the second year, Humane Montclair is organizing a fur up-cycling event to collect unwanted fur coats, hats, and other accessories to be sent to a wildlife rehabilitation center. According to Montclair Local, last year’s event netted 35 items. Wildlife rehabilitation facilities use the furs to help animals prepare to be released back into the wild.
New Jersey-Grown Cannabis Products Launch
URB’N dispensary, located at 378 South Street in Newark, is one of a small but growing list of New Jersey dispensaries to sell a Garden State-grown brand of cannabis, called Brute’s Roots, according to NJ.com. Brute’s Roots is New Jersey’s first independent recreational weed cultivator, based in Winslow Township. The proprietary strain, The Goodfather, was just released to retailers.
Montclair School District Launches Mentorship Program
The Montclair School District, in partnership with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Alpha Alpha Lambda Chapter, will launch a new mentorship program at Renaissance Middle School and Montclair High School, according to Patch. The program is called Project Alpha and will connect male students with male mentors and be conducted through a series of workshops. Some of the topics covered will include college readiness, personal growth, and emotional and peer support.
$5 Million Grant for Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
According to a press release, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center has received a $5 million grant to implement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program in Newark. The program will help the hospital reduce chronic illness in Black, African American, Hispanic, and Latinx communities, who experience the highest rates of chronic disease in Newark. Over the five-year period, the program will be expanded throughout Essex County and to Union, Hudson, Middlesex, and Ocean counties.
NJ Mom + NJ Baby Expo Coming to Hoboken
NJMOM.com, the premier New Jersey website for finding the best family-friendly businesses around New Jersey, is hosting its annual NJ Baby Expo on November 12th, 2023 from 9:30AM to 1:30PM at the W Hoboken, located at 225 River Street. Per a press release, the expo will connect parents-to-be and new parents with over 50 premium baby and toddler exhibitors including best-in-class baby gear and accessories, clothing, skincare, local childcare providers, pediatricians, cord blood banking, and more. Throughout the event, parents can test products and take advantage of one-day-only discounts, check out educational demos led by industry-leading experts, enjoy pampering treatments, enter to win thousands of dollars in raffle prizes, including strollers and car seats, and take home VIP swag bags.