Home Essex CountyBloomfield 15 Montclair News Stories + Beyond That You Missed This Week

15 Montclair News Stories + Beyond That You Missed This Week

by Ainsley Layland
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Every week we bring you the highlights in the news, so you can stay up-to-date on what is happening in Montclair. Among the local headlines — Bloomfield listed among CVS expanded vaccine sites, curbside recycling to start again after COVID-19 suspension, the Vanguard Theater was awarded $37,500 by the NJ Arts & Culture Recovery Fund, and so much more. Keep reading for all the news you missed this week in Montclair, Bloomfield, + Essex County:

To stay up-to-date on the launch, things to do, and weekly in the Montclair + greater Essex County area, follow @themontclairgirl on Instagram and sign up for our Montclair email list here. Email news tips to [email protected]!


A Grocery Store Is The ‘First Priority’ In Lackawanna Plaza Plan For Montclair


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Lackawanna Plaza has been mostly vacant since November 2015, when its anchor tenant, a Pathmark supermarket, closed its doors. It is currently the largest development site in Montclair with close to eight acres, per Baristanet. “Priority number one is a grocery store. Number two is maintaining the historic integrity of the property,” said David Placek, of BDP Holdings, the new owner of Lackawanna Plaza. “I will say this upfront. A lot of people conflate a lot of terminology with regards to the historic elements. There were no train sheds ever in existence at Lackawanna Terminal or Lackawanna Plaza.” Placek also said current plans involve a grocery store under 40,000 square feet.

Bloomfield Listed Among CVS Expanded Vaccine Sites

bloomfield vaccine

Bloomfield is on the list of locations where CVS Pharmacy is expanding to offer the COVID-19 vaccine, according to MSN. CVS Pharmacy administers vaccines as part of the Federal Pharmacy Program, which means the doses come directly from the U.S. government. More appointments were made available this week as the company received shipments of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Now Bloomfield is on the list.

Mountainside Hospital to Begin Vaccinating Montclair Schools Teachers Monday

montclair bloomfield covid-19 cases resources updates

80 teachers will be vaccinated starting this Monday, according to Baristanet, with 80 additional educators being vaccinated weekly as part of the plan to get students back to in-person learning.“Starting next week again, through the great partnership and the work with the Mountainside team, there’s a plan in place to vaccinate 80 educators per week, starting next week, to get our educators vaccinated and back to in-person instruction as soon as possible,” Mayor Sean Spiller said. “This is really there to complement the resources and tools that the district has been working on.”

Mayor Spiller announced the news on Friday. “We at Hackensack Meridian Mountainside Medical Center began administering the COVID-19 vaccine to community members in December of 2020,” said O’Brien. “Mountainside is extremely proud that we have administered thousands of vaccine doses to high-risk community members, other healthcare providers, and frontline workers. We are also incredibly honored that we are able to begin vaccinating teachers and other staff members across districts, including Montclair Public Schools.”

Douglas Stuart + Alan Cumming in Conversation for Montclair Literary Festival


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Scottish-American author Douglas Stuart will speak with award-winning actor, author, filmmaker, and activist Alan Cumming about his 2020 Booker Prize-winning debut novel Shuggie Bain on March 20th and March 21st. According to Tap Into, Shuggie Bain is a heartbreaking story of addiction, sexuality, and love. Tickets cost $20 and include a paperback copy of the book, the first 100 registrants will receive a signed copy.

Montclair Schools Consider Outside Classes


When Montclair schools open, whenever that is, they may have outdoor learning in place and also offer classes on Saturday to help students catch up on the curriculum, per Montclair Local. Superintendent Jonathan Ponds said at a school board meeting on March 3rd that district officials had been talking over possible solutions for outdoor learning. More ideas will be presented in the next month regarding outdoor learning. “Dr. Morgan came to me last week and expressed that we should have outdoor learning sooner rather than later,” Ponds said. “She’s going to have some wonderful ideas, and I fully support it.”

New Jersey’s First Refill + Zero Waste Shop to Open in Montclair

New Jersey’s first refill shop and zero waste store, Good Bottle Refill Shop, is opening a location in Montclair later this month at 179 Glenridge Avenue. Customers will be able to buy refills of soap, cleaning products, laundry detergents, and more. Founded by New Jersey Family Magazine’s “2020 Mompreneuer of the Year” Deanna Taylor-Heacock, is excited to bring her years of retail experience and passion for zero waste living to Montclair. Read more here.

Montclair School Budget Would Mean Tax Increase For Homeowners

school budget taxes

The Montclair Public School District has submitted a $135 million proposed budget to county officials, which would result in a tax increase for the average homeowner, reported Patch. For a home valued at around $628K, the estimated district school tax levy will increase by about $214.

Vanguard Theater Awarded $37,500 by NJ Arts + Culture Recovery Fund

vanguard theater

The New Jersey Arts + Culture Recover Fund has awarded the Vanguard Theater Company a $37,500 grant. This grant will support the ongoing renovations at their new theater at 180 Bloomfield Avenue, per Baristanet. The New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund was established to ensure the survival and strength of the state’s arts, cultural and historical sectors during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

US Rep Sherrill Hosts COVID-19 Roundtable

In an effort to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the Latinx community, US Representative Mikie Sherrill hosted a roundtable discussion with statewide leaders. They discussed what actions need to be taken to offer relief regarding health, education, and economic struggles, per Patch. “Discussions like this are critical in the effort to address the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on particular communities. I am grateful for the opportunity to hear from this impressive group. They provided a broad range of perspectives from the Hispanic community,” Sherrill said. “We will all need to continue to work together if we are going to address issues from the disparities in vaccine distribution to the systemic issues brought to light by this pandemic.”

Curbside Recycling To Restart In Montclair After COVID-19 Suspension

montclair recycling

Curbside recycling services in Montclair were suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic due to a string of coronavirus-related absences among its Department of Community Services (DCS) workers, leaving residents to either collect those items at home or take them to the recycling center themselves, per Patch. Curbside recycling collection is set to resume in Montclair on Monday, March 15th.

Montclair Schools + Teachers Union Reportedly Reach Settlement

BOE settlement

Following months of protesting, parents in the Montclair Public School District turned to the law to help get their kids back in class. This also resulted in a standoff between the Montclair Board of Education and the Montclair Education Association, per Patch. The BOE sued the teachers union in an effort to reopen the schools for in-person classes. At this time the agreement is to reopen the district’s elementary schools for hybrid, in-person learning by April 12th.

NJ Vaccination Sites Stay Open Thanks to Volunteers

Thousands of volunteers are to thank for allowing vaccination sites across New Jersey to stay open and serve the community. One such volunteer, Sock Wang from Summit, told CBS “My husband got his first shot. I am really thankful for all the volunteers and I wanted to do the same for others.” Wang now volunteers at the registration desk, checking people in and acting as moral support through the process. Another local volunteer, Stephen Wright from South Orange, said, “I felt like I was giving back to the community, helping the process. Also wanted to experience it firsthand.” In addition to local residents pitching in, National Guard Troops have also supported the sites.

New Montclair-Based Transgender Non-Profit Aims to Validate Community

montclair non-profit trans

The Montclair nonprofit group, Trans Affirming Alliance, was started in December 2020 by attorneys from Argentino Fiore Law & Advocacy LLC, where Celeste Fiore is a partner. Their mission is to partner with LGBTQIA centers and projects to deliver services including legal guidance, mental health counseling, career counseling, and specialized health and wellness care. “When you’re in a community that feels a lot of shame, you feel like, on some level, your existence and your struggle isn’t real, like you’re being gaslit by an entire community and you often accept a lot of {expletive},” Fiore, whose pronouns are they/them, said. “I think that people know that something’s not right, but they’ve been conditioned to feel like their experiences aren’t valid. And I think that’s something that the Trans Affirming Alliance just does by virtue of listening to trans people.” More than anything, the organization aims to make sure the community feels heard and validated.

Verona Parents Rally for In-Person Class

verona parents rally

Essex County is no stranger to the debate about reopening schools during the pandemic. Last week, more than 150 parents and students gathered outside the town hall in a show of solidarity, according to Patch. When parents learned that the school district didn’t have plans to offer in-person learning this school year or next school year, they launched the rally.

Bloomfield St. Patrick’s Day Display Delights Some, Offends Others

Every holiday, the scene on display outside the residence at 226 Lakewood Drive adapts to the new cause for celebration, according to Tap Into. From a tribute to essential workers to a Christmas wonderland, resident James Joanow utilizes mannequins to help celebrate the upcoming event. However, his St. Patrick’s Day Disco Party scene is causing a stir with some neighbors concerned about the provocative appearance of some of the mannequins. “At night, when the lights go on, I play all classic disco music. The display will be up till St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th,” Joanow said. “It was never set up to offend anyone. I’ve been setting up displays for over 10 years now, and it’s just meant for fun and laughs.”

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