Home Essex CountyBelleville 26 News Stories You Missed This Week in Montclair + Beyond

26 News Stories You Missed This Week in Montclair + Beyond

by The Montclair Girl Team
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It wouldn’t be an October in New Jersey without a rainy weekend, it would seem. It’s been another busy week in Essex County and we’ve got all the headlines to get you caught up. Among the highlights: Essex County announces its fall leaf collection schedule; a Newark charter school wins a statewide award; and Montclair volunteer group Friends of the Howe House is recognized for its efforts. Read on for more news from Montclair, Bloomfield, and beyond for the week ending October 15th, 2023.

&Son Closes in Montclair; New Indoor Golf Simulator to Take Over

golf simulator montclair nj

In March 2020, at the height of the pandemic, a Livingston resident had an idea: a dog bed that’s comfortable for humans too. The result of this idea was &Son, a mother-and-son-owned boutique in Montclair that sold home decor and other accessories (including, of course, the famed “animal lover seat”). Three years and two locations later, Benjamin and Beth Stricof are relocating &Son to Brooklyn, officially closing the shop’s 369 Bloomfield Avenue doors on September 24th. In the boutique’s place comes Montclair Indoor Golf Club, a locally-owned indoor golf simulator. Read on to learn more about &Son’s closure in Montclair + the new golf simulator slated to take its place.

NJ Governor Murphy Speaks at Vigil


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A candlelit vigil was held in Hoboken on Tuesday, October 10th to support Israel after weekend terrorist attacks, according to NJ.com. Hundreds attended the ceremony, which featured remarks by Hoboken Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla, Rabbi Moshe Shapiro, and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. The vigil took place at Pier A Park.

Winter Coat Giveaway in Newark

The Mercy House of Newark, a resource and referral center operated by the Archdiocese of Newark, will distribute free coats and other winterwear to individuals and families in need, including newly arrived migrants with no cold weather clothing, to help them stay warm this winter. Per a press release, the event will take place on October 17th at 11AM at Mercy House, located at 620 Clinton Avenue in Newark. To learn more about the event, visit the Mercy House site here.

Medieval in Montclair

According to Patch, Montclair Early Music will host 2023 MedievalFest on Saturday, October 21st from 12PM to 4PM on the green at St. James Episcopal Church, 581 Valley Road in Montclair. The event is a fundraiser for the RecorderKids Scholarship Fund, which supports children in MEM’s after-school recorder program. The festival will feature medieval music, crafts, and games, and attendees are encouraged to attend in costume. Tickets are required and are available online now.

New Operator for Long-Vacant Secaucus Hotel

The owners of the Empire Meadowlands Hotel, located at 2 Harmon Plaza near Meadowlands Parkway, have announced a deal with a new operator that will revitalize and reopen the property, according to NJ.com. The building opened as the Meadowlands Hilton in Secaucus in 1978 and was later operated as a Crowne Plaza hotel. It is unknown when the 14-story building will reopen.

North2Shore Festival Returns in 2024


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Following the inaugural North to Shore Arts and Ideas Festival in June 2023, the epic event will return next year to kick off summer 2024 with another three-city, three-weekend celebration of the arts and innovation across New Jersey, according to a press release. Conceived by Governor Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy, the North to Shore Festival was designed to spotlight New Jersey’s culture, diversity, and spirit of innovation. In 2024, the festival will launch in Asbury Park from June 10th to June 16th, swing down the Shore to Atlantic City from June 17th through June 23rd, and conclude in Newark from June 24th through June 30th.

Paris Baguette Makes Montclair Plans


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Popular bakery Paris Baguette will open a location in Montclair, according to Patch. No address or opening date was shared. This will be the chain’s 29th New Jersey location.

Essex County Leaf Collection

fall leaves

According to Patch, Essex County has released this year’s leaf collection schedule for county-maintained areas. The pickups in South Orange, Maplewood, Cedar Grove, Millburn, West Orange, Belleville, East Orange, Irvington, Newark, and Orange will occur over four dates, with each pickup date organized by region. The pickups begin in late October and run through late December 2023 and early January 2024.

Friends of the Howe House Honored


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Montclair organization Friends of the Howe House was honored by the Montclair NAACP at an awards ceremony earlier this month. Per Patch, the group won the Thurgood Marshall Freedom Fund Award for its efforts to preserve the Howe House. The organization raised funds to purchase and preserve the home, which was home to Montclair’s first freed slave.

Essex County Volunteers Needed


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Per Patch, volunteers in Essex County are needed for the Rachel Coalition, a division of the Jewish Family Service of MetroWest New Jersey (JFS). The Rachel Coalition provides support services to assist victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence as well as those living in high-conflict relationships. The program’s Court Advocate needs volunteers and training will be provided. For more information, visit JFS’s website.

Newark Charter School Wins Award

A new approach to hiring teachers of color has yielded both positive academic outcomes and professional recognition for Phillips Academy Charter School of Newark, according to Patch. The school won the 2023 Lighthouse Award from the New Jersey Department of Education for its commitment to hiring teachers of color. The school’s multi-part effort includes a concerted effort to recruit and retain teachers of color, including professional support from peers.

Two Montclair Chefs Team Up for Collab

Zaatar Za_Brick and Dough

Chefs at two Montclair restaurants are teaming up for a creative culinary collab. Starting on Wednesday, October 18th, Montclair’s own Ani Ramen and Brick + Dough will serve the special dishes, according to a press release. Foodies will be able to order “Ramen a la Vodka” at Ani Ramen for $19 and “The Ani Za” at Brick + Dough for $23.

Montclair Brewing Co. Takes the Smithsonian


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Denise Ford-Sawadogo, co-owner of Montclair Brewing Company, will be a part of a panel discussion called “Last Call: American Beer in a Changing Climate” as part of the Smithsonian Food History Weekend. She is one of four female beer brewers taking part in the discussion, which will focus on how climate change is impacting beer brewing. The event will take place on Friday, November 3rd at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. Tickets are required and are available now. The discussion is part of a weekend’s worth of events with the theme Food, Climate, and Community: How Women are Shaping the Future of Food.

Montclair Residents Critical of Woodman Field Plans

Montclair neighbors say they’re being put in the middle of a conflict with no chance of being heard when it comes to plans to redevelop Woodman Field. Per Montclair Local, a plan was shared by the Montclair BOE for the field that would necessitate the removal of 13 trees. Residents have objected to this, but continue to speak out against the BOE for its lack of engagement with neighbors on the project.

Verona Man Charged with Financial Crimes Against Elderly Client

An Essex County man has been indicted on charges related to financial frauds committed against his client, a 90-year-old woman. According to a press release from the New Jersey Attorney General, John Boston, 47, of Verona, was a registered financial advisor at the time he entered into an agreement with his client. The investigation began after a referral from the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman.

Newark Redevelopment Project Wins Smart Design Award


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A Newark early learning center has been awarded for its development plan and design, according to Patch. The Clinton Hill Early Learning Center’s completion was the result of a collaboration led by the Maher Charitable Foundation to redevelop the vacant site into a vibrant learning destination. The Foundation received a 2023 Smart Growth award from New Jersey Future, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sensible growth and development.

Guilty Verdict in Essex County Case

Per Patch, a jury has returned a guilty verdict against a Bloomfield man charged with a 2022 murder that took place at an Irvington gas station. Lamar Sommers, 36, of Bloomfield, was convicted on first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a weapon in connection to his role in the murder of Jahque Benbow, 23, of Newark. Mr. Sommeres will face a minimum of 30 years in prison at his December 2023 sentencing hearing.

Montclair High School Field Hockey Team Takes on Breast Cancer


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The Montclair High School field hockey team is facing off against breast cancer, according to Montclair Local. The team is hosting a ‘Pink Your Pumpkin’ contest to raise money for the Cooperman Barnabas Comfort 360 Project, an effort designed to support cancer patients throughout their treatments. Other fall sports teams at MHS will decorate pumpkins as well, and the fundraising goal is $2000. To vote on a pumpkin, donate, or learn more, click here.

New Jersey is the #1 Safest State

A study using the FBI’s crime data has ranked New Jersey the safest state in the country. According to Jersey Digs, the study was conducted by Innerbody, a health research company, and looked at data reporting ‘crimes against persons’ which includes assault, homicide, kidnapping, human trafficking, and sex offenses. The study credited New Jersey’s strict gun control laws and the state’s efforts to reform policing, including Attorney General Mathew J. Platkin’s “Excellence in Policing” initiative.

Newark Crime Reduction Effort Yields 19 Arrests


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As part of a recent crime reduction effort, Newark Police arrested 19 people with outstanding warrants. According to Patch, the two-day effort yielded arrests with charges including weapons possession, assault, and robbery.

Liquor License Granted for Montclair’s Vanguard Theater

The Vanguard Theater, located at 180 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair, is the second nonprofit theater to receive a liquor license under a new law specifically for that purpose. According to Patch, the law allows liquor licenses to be granted to nonprofit organizations performing arts organizations. Earlier this year, Montclair Film at The Clairidge was also granted a liquor license under the same provision.

Newark Councilman Hands Out Bus Passes, Schedules, in Advance of New Routes


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In response to changes to three Essex County bus routes, one Newark councilman is handing out free bus passes to encourage riders to use new routes. According to Patch, Councilman Patrick Council handed out breakfast treats, bus passes, and schedules earlier this week to alert residents to the new emergency routes serving the community. Three routes operated by Coach USA will now be served by an emergency plan from NJ Transit.

Lackawanna Plaza Redevelopment Plan Approved by Montclair Council

lackawanna station montclair

The Lackawanna Plaza redevelopment plan was approved with a 4-2 vote at the Montclair Township Council Meeting on Tuesday, October 10th. Residents both for and against the plan shared their perspectives on Montclair for over two hours before the council took its vote. The redevelopment plan entails revitalizing the plaza while meeting sustainable development standards, building affordable housing, and access to a local grocery store. Read more to learn about the details of the Lackawanna Plaza redevelopment approved plan in Montclair

Fall on Montclair State Campus Kills One

A 19-year-old man is dead after falling from a parking structure on the campus of Montclair State University, according to Patch. The man was not a student, and neither the police nor the university have shared his identity. The incident took place on Wednesday, October 11th, and foul play is not suspected.

Montclair Councilman Peter Yacobellis Resigns

Outgoing Montclair Councilman Peter Yacobellis has resigned from his position and will not finish out his final term. In an interview with Montclair Local, he pointed to the toxic environment of the town council and his own challenges with mental health as his reasons for not seeing his term to the end, which would be in spring 2024. He cited his many accomplishments during his time in office, and in particular shared how proud he is of the work that Out Montclair has done.

Montclair Teams Finish Strong at SEC Race

Two Montclair teams finished strong at the Super Essex Conference American Division race on Tuesday, October 10th at Branch Brook Park in Newark, according to Montclair Local. The Montclair High School girls cross country team won its division for the second year in a row. Montclair Kimberley Academy senior Maggie Horn came in first in the SEC American Division race, also for the second year in a row.

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