Every week we scour our sources for noteworthy news to share with our readers, so you can stay up to date on what is happening in your area. Among the local headlines — a New Jersey graduate student took home $37K from Jeopardy!, Montclair High School senior currently stars in a Netflix movie, Montclair Brewery celebrates Black History Month with special craft brews, and so much more. Keep reading for all the news you missed this week in Montclair, Bloomfield, + Essex County:
Superior Court Judge Reverses Montclair Rent Control Ruling
Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Beacham reversed his January 15 ruling on Montclair Township’s rent control ordinance which was adopted April 7, according to Baristanet. He ordered the Township Clerk to certify the Montclair Property Owners Association petition to add the ordinance on a ballot as a referendum question. The ordinance will now be reviewed by the Township council who could also decide to appeal the court’s decision.
Community to Host ‘Love Fest’ Distribution Event
The United Community Corp. will host a Love Fest on Saturday, February 27th from 11AM – 1PM at West Side Park in Newark. The event will feature raffles for gift baskets, the distribution of groceries, socks, and toiletries, and also feature informational booths. “It is a blessing to be able to help out so many families,” West Side Park office manager Christian Marsette told NJ.com. “Putting a smile on somebody’s face makes my day so much better. Our main focus is to provide the resources to people and I’m really grateful that those in-need come out to our events for those resources.” Since the pandemic began, these monthly events have served more than 6,000 individuals.
$100M Fund for Black and Latinx Business Owners Garners Mayoral Support
Mayors from Orange, East Orange, Paterson, Camden, Trenton, Irvington, and Atlantic City are helping to call on the private sector to contribute to a $100M philanthropic fund that would support Black and Latinx business owners and real estate, developers. NJ.com reported that on Wednesday, February 17th the mayors called on Governor Phil Murphy for his support to expand the program across the state. “Sometimes it’s a hard conversation to have about the inequalities in our community as it results from systematic racism that has been going on for a long time in this country,” Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss said in a virtual conference. “And it needs to be addressed head-on, especially in a state like New Jersey.”
Bill Approved to End Fines for NJ Transit Light Rail
A bill was approved by the assembly transportation and independent authorities that would do away with the $75 fine for NJ Transit light rail riders who fail to time stamp their tickets. According to NJ.com, the bill was reviewed on Monday, February 22nd and now goes to Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, who will decide if the full assembly will vote on it, or if another committee needs to review it.
Montclair Churches Permitted to Hold Services at Half Capacity
Churches in New Jersey can now hold services indoors with more attendees than allowed at any time since March 2020. Governor Phil Murphy announced Monday, February 22nd, that gatherings for religious services are permitted at up to 50% of room capacity, with no hard limit on raw headcount. Social distancing is still required for those who don’t live in the same household.
Montclair Senior Services Director Leaving Role
Following five years of service as the Montclair Senior Services Director, Katie York will be ending her role on Friday, March 5th. “One of the ways I’ve measured success is by how much older residents have had ownership in and have been a part of the development and implementation of our initiatives,” York told Montclair Local. “I hope in that way I have been successful. I have felt like I am part of this community and, in that way, I am truly sad to leave. I want to express my sincerest gratitude to all who have worked so hard to make Montclair a better place to grow older.”
Montclair High School Senior Stars in Netflix Movie
Montclair High School senior, Gerald W. Jones III is fighting vampires in the Netflix movie Vampires vs. the Bronx — which was released in October. The 17-year-old stars as Bobby which is the biggest role he’s landed so far, “So that’s five years of just auditioning,” Jones told News Break. He has received callbacks but then missed the roles themselves – until now.
Former Manager Files Suit Against Bangz Salon Owner Claiming Sexual Assault
A former stylist and manager at Bangz Salon has filed a lawsuit against the owner, claiming he sexually assaulted her. NJ.com reported that when she told her supervisors about the situation, she was let go. The complaint refers to the alleged assault, which took place in October 2020, as “extreme and outrageous” and “beyond all bounds of decency.”
Montclair State Community Mourns Loss of First-Year Theater and Dance Student
The Montclair State University community is mourning the loss of a first-year theater and dance major, Olivia Morro, who unexpectedly passed away on Wednesday, February 10th. In a virtual support group held on February 12th, Morro’s theater and dance professor Marcus Harvey said he saw Morro as a cheerleader for her peers, according to The Montclarion. “She created a community space for her classmates to have,” Harvey said. “She lived fearlessly, in a way that most people are afraid to. She created these relationships with people that were unlike her.”
New Jersey Brewery Honors Black History Month with Special Beer Series
Every February, as our country celebrates Black history month, the Montclair Brewery has produced new craft brews to pay tribute to renowned Black figures. The owners, Leo and Denise Sawadogo also produce beers that honor their West African and Jamaican roots. “It’s a dream every single day to see everybody sitting here drinking beer that I made. It’s just mind-boggling to me,” said Leo Sawadogo. According to ABC13.com, this year the brewery will honor journalist Gil Noble, actor Chadwick Boseman, known for his starring role in the movie: The Black Panther, and agricultural scientist and inventor, George Washington Carver.
Outpost in the Burbs Presents Virtual Concert Fundraiser
Outpost in the Burbs is hosting a virtual concert fundraiser, Music for Meals on Thursday, March 4th at 7PM. This fundraiser will benefit the work of the Outpost and Montclair’s Toni’s Kitchen both of which have continued to provide meals to those in need during the coronavirus pandemic. The event will live stream on the Outpost in the Burbs Facebook page and feature Montclair-based musicians, according to baristanet.com. The musicians include Scott E. Moore, Lily Vakili, Sammy Mellman, Ed Seifert, Connie, and Kathy Sharar.
Restaurants Get Creative with Winter Outdoor Dining
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Local restaurants have found creative ways to keep outdoor dining going through the first full pandemic winter – investing in private igloo and greenhouse dining options. One such restaurant, The Bloomfield Steak and Seafood House, has 15 heated igloos and four greenhouses for more comfortable private outdoor dining. “It’s been overwhelmingly positive,” owner Andrea Johnson told Baristanet. Each igloo seats two to three people while the larger greenhouses hold up to eight customers.
Downtown Montclair Development Leases Three New Tenants
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Slated to open before this summer, One River School, The Gravity Vault, and Summit Medical Group will energize the Downtown Montclair neighborhood as the first tenants of new mixed-use development in Montclair. According to Ironstate Development, One River School launched in Englewood, New Jersey, in 2012 and has expanded to 13 locations across the country. The 3,300-square-foot Montclair facility will be state-of-the-art and include an exhibition area for showcasing regional artists’ work.
Grad Student From NJ Takes Home $37K on Jeopardy!
A graduate student from Mountain Lakes, Phil Hoffman, won a very Jersey Jeopardy! game Tuesday, February 16th, winning two nights in a row on the game show. This specific episode featured three contestants from the Garden State, according to NJ.com. Hoffman took home $37,390 in total winnings.
Montclair Families Rally to Open Classrooms Amidst Lawsuit
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Parents in the Montclair public schools, among others in the Essex County district, are now demanding a return to in-person learning, per NJ.com. The Montclair school board has sued the local union trying to force teachers back into classrooms, though a judge refused to immediately grant the district’s request. Several South Orange-Maplewood parents have also filed a suit of their own against the district.
West Orange Bar Could Lose License Following 28 Violations
A bar located in West Orange may have its liquor license revoked after being cited 28 times since November for violating coronavirus executive orders on masks, social distancing and staying open past 10 p.m., state officials said. The ZuluBa’s trouble began on November 21st when investigators said the bar was at more than 25% capacity while employees and patrons were not wearing face coverings, reported NJ.com. The governor’s executive order states food and drinks can only be provided food and drinks at tables but ZuluBa’s was serving guests at the bar at the time.
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