Home Essex CountyBloomfield 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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This week brought the first heat wave of the summer to the Garden State. 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: Montclair Mayor Spiller announces New Jersey Governor campaign; Newark starts opening its fire hydrants for kids to play in this summer; and work on Newark’s McCarter Highway Mural wraps up. Read on for all the news in Essex County for the week ending June 23rd, 2024.

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


Among the Headlines:

The Ivy at Chatham
  • Montclair Mayor Spiller Launches Campaign for N.J. Governor
  • Newark Home for Sale Has Sopranos Ties
  • The Juice House Opens in Montclair
  • Montclair’s Egan + Sons Chosen for Debut of Country Star Zach Bryan’s Next Record
  • Montclair State University Students’ Migrant Crisis Project Highlighted on NBCU Academy
  • Jersey City-Based Yoga Studio, Sol Spirit, Opens in Montclair
  • Newark Starts Opening Fire Hydrants For Kids to Play In for the Summer
  • Montclair History Center Names Its Hortense Tate Scholarship Winner
  • Newark’s McCarter Highway Mural Finished
  • Montclair Couple Set to Debut First Album

Fate of Notable Montclair Fire Station 3 Unknown

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Montclair FMBA Local 20 (@montclairfirefightersnj)

 

Montclair’s historic Fire House #3, otherwise known as the Cedar Avenue Fire House located at 151 Harrison Avenue, has been temporarily closed for repairs since July 2023. The future of the town’s oldest fire station is unclear as questions arose about no repairs seeming to be complete in the last several months from interim township manager Michael Lapolla, Esq. at a recent council meeting on Monday, May 13th. According to Montclair Local, it’s being recommended by Michael that the incoming Mayor and council have a “vigorous discussion as to the future of that building.”


Montclair Mayor Spiller Launches Campaign for N.J. Governor

On June 14th, Montclair Mayor Sean Spiller released a campaign launch video (above) announcing his run for the 2025 New Jersey governor race. He honed in on his background as an educator and is campaigning on a “working class” platform. Mayor Spiller will be seeking the Democratic Party nomination alongside a running list of candidates each seeking to succeed Governor Phil Murphy, per Patch Montclair. Along with serving Montclair for the last four years, he was also the president of the New Jersey Education Association, the state’s largest public school teachers’ union.


Newark Home For Sale Has Sopranos Ties

Soprano Home Newark

Photo Credit: Hundred Stories PR

For those who missed out on the chance to purchase the famous Tony Soprano booth from Holsten’s restaurant in Bloomfield that was up for sale earlier this year, there’s another piece of famous Sopranos memorabilia on the market. A Newark home that was used as Corrado Soprano’s home in the series is now for sale. Corrado Soprano, also known as Uncle Junior, was the Uncle to mob boss Tony Soprano. The home is located at 380 Highland Avenue and is a ten-minute walk from Branch Brook Park.


The Juice House Opens in Montclair

juice house montclair

Photo Credit: @erinmcgovern_

A local brand has made its way to MTC with its fifth New Jersey location. The Juice House — a juice, smoothie, and bowl eatery — opened a storefront in Montclair at 10 North Willow Street on June 16th. We first reported about the new location in June 2023, the store put up signage in January 2024, and now we know that the new spot is open for business. Click here to read what we know about The Juice House’s menu and how it’s serving the community.


Montclair’s Egan + Sons Chosen for Debut of Country Star Zach Bryan’s Next Record

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Zach Bryan (@zachlanebryan)

Country star Zach Bryan has chosen Montclair’s Egan + Sons bar as one of a handful of bars chosen to debut his new record, according to an Instagram post. The record, called The Great American Bar Scene, will be played starting on June 24th at Egan + Sons and 22 other US bars before its full release on July 4th. The bars were chosen because according to Zach, they embody ‘the spirit of American culture.’


Pride Flag Stolen, Action Condemned by Out Montclair

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Out Montclair / Montclair Pride (@outmontclair)


Local LGBTQIA non-profit and the organizer of Montclair Pride, Out Montclair, issued a statement via social media following the theft of the Pride flag from the intersection of Church Street and Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair. “We thank the Montclair Police Department for their swift response and investigation into this bias incident. Out Montclair will work closely with law enforcement to ensure the perpetrators are identified and held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” read the statement, in part.


Psilocybin Bill Gets to Its First Committee Hearing

A bill to legalize medical psilocybin had its first committee hearing in the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee on June 13th. The bill, NJ S2283 (24R) is expected to cut “decriminalization provisions and expungement for past and prospective convictions related to the drug,” per POLITICO. The bill currently proposes eliminating prohibitions on the use, possession, transportation, and home growth of up to four grams of psilocybin for individuals 21 and older. These measures are expected to be taken out of the bill although some of them could be included in separate legislation. It is still a felony to grow cannabis at home despite the drug being recreationally legal to buy since 2022.


Montclair State University Students’ Migrant Crisis Project Highlighted on NBCU Academy

 

The Empathy in Journalism: Reporting on Migrants at the Border video (see above), produced by journalism students at Montclair State University, is the first of three to be shared on the national NBCU Academy website and YouTube channel. According to a press release from the university, the project covers the divisive border wall crisis, migrant desert encampments, and young voters’ perspectives on the upcoming election, among other topics. The series was produced for the course “On the Road: Reporting from the Field” last spring as part of a multimedia package entitled, Arizona Stories: Border, Water and Politics. My Election Story Took an Unexpected Turn. Here’s How I Handled It is also currently published on NBCU Academy.


Jersey City-Based Yoga Studio, Sol Spirit, Opens in Montclair

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Sol Spirit Yoga & Wellness | Jersey City • Montclair (@solspiritstudios)

 

Montclair is expanding its fitness options as a beloved Jersey City-based studio opened on Thursday, June 20th, in Montclair. Sol Spirit Yoga is located at 356 Bloomfield Avenue, Suite 6, which is on the second floor. Sol Spirit has been a Jersey City favorite since its 2021 opening, even winning our sister brand The Hoboken Girl’s reader-voted Best Yoga Studio in Jersey City for 2023. Click here to learn more about Sol Spirit Yoga and Wellness in Montclair.


Newark Starts Opening Fire Hydrants For Kids to Play In For the Summer

Firefighters will open hydrants for the community each Saturday and Sunday as part of the Newark Department of Public Safety’s summer youth initiative. According to Patch Newark, firefighters will open hydrants from 1PM to 4PM each Saturday and Sunday. It will take place at different locations in the city through Sunday, September 15th.


Montclair History Center Names Its Hortense Tate Scholarship Winner

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Montclair History Center (@montclairhistorycenter)

 

Montclair History Center (MHC) awarded its Hortense Tate Scholarship to Montclair High School senior Katharine Baney-Giampoala. Katherine’s essay showcased the history, values, and community of the Montclair Quaker Meetinghouse which her family has attended since she was little, per a press release from MHC. Katharine’s full essay can be read online here.


Youth Empowerment Program of Montclair Seeks Community Support

The Youth Empowerment program, which started as a partnership with the Montclair NAACP, is asking the community to donate to the organization to help fund this summer’s program. The funds — in which the goal is to raise $15,000 — will go to paying staff, providing a space for the girls, and providing transportation, per Montclair Local. Keep Creating, a local nonprofit art studio dedicated to inclusion and wellness is hosting an online fundraiser for the Youth Empowerment program. The program invites those who donate over $100 to a local event on Monday, July 8th, for an arts presentation. The Youth Empowerment program is a no-cost program for girls that strongly focuses on literacy arts, STEM fields, and media literacy and helps secure internships for high school students. This summer, the program’s theme is “The Art of Structure” where attendees will have the opportunity to explore the behind-the-scenes of the fashion industry.


Essex County Launches Phone App For Voters for 2024 Election

phone scammer

It was announced on Monday, June 17th, that the Essex County Clerk’s Office is launching a new phone app for local voters ahead of the 2024 presidential election. The app, entitled “Essex Votes,” is now available for Apple and Android devices via the Apple App or Google Play stores. Its mission is to serve as a “one-stop hub” for election-related information, which county officials hope will increase voter engagement. According to Patch Montclair, Essex County Clerk Christopher Durkin said the new app is a significant step forward for both accessibility and convenience as it will support multiple languages. Some features of the new app will include poll worker information, polling locations, and news updates.


Newark’s McCarter Highway Mural Project Completed

Officials announced last week that a restoration project for “Gateway to Newark: Portraits” has finished. The artwork stretches more than 1.34 miles along Route 21, otherwise known as McCarter Highway. Community groups and city officials recently pitched in to spruce up the mural, with art lovers across Newark helping power wash, remove calcium, taking part in paint restoration, re-mounting printed imagery, reimagining artworks, and sealing for longevity, per Patch Newark. Two of the components of the mural have also been “reimagined,” including Mata Ruda’s 20,000-square-foot centerpiece, “The Speed of Dreams (Time and Space),” which spans from Chestnut Street to Pennington Street. The collaboration included teamwork between the City of Newark’s Division of Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Newark Downtown District, Project for Empty Space, Invest Newark, Newark Arts, and the Greater Newark Convention and Visitors Bureau. The mural was born in 2016 as a tribute to Newark’s 350th anniversary while also uniting local, national, and international artists.


Newark Awards Its Teachers of the Year

 

The Newark Board of Education recently gave out its “Teacher of the Year” awards. According to Patch Newark, the district held a thank-you event for its 2023-2024 Teacher of the Year recipient Desrie Morris from Mt. Vernon Elementary School.  Other awards were given celebrating the educators and commending their “incredible dedication and talent.”


Board Vacancy Spot Filled in by Unanimous Montclair Board of Education Vote

On Monday night, June 17th, Dr. Kimberly Robinson Santos was unanimously voted to the Montclair Board of Education by eight members. According to Montclair Local, Dr. Santos fills a board vacancy left by Crystal Hopkins, who resigned in May. She previously ran for a board seat in the November school board election and was one of 11 residents who applied to fill the vacancy.


New Lawsuit Alleges Montclair Town Manager Retaliated Against Affirmative Action Officer

montclair lawsuit

A lawsuit was filed on Wednesday, June 19th, by Bruce Morgan, Montclair’s affirmative action officer, suing the Township of Montclair and Michael Lapolla, the interim town manager, for violating New Jersey’s law against discrimination which bans third-party retaliation. This comes after Bruce conducted two investigations and reported finding Montclair at fault in 2022. This is at the same time the Township of Montclair and “high-ranking supervisory employees” allegedly began a “campaign of retaliation” against Bruce in the lawsuit, per Montclair Local. The investigations included one having to do with Black firefighters’ allegations that a promotions test was stacked against them and the other concluding former town manager Timothy Stafford created a “hostile work environment” for the town’s chief financial officer Padmaja Rao. The complaint alleges that Michael stripped Bruce of all of his responsibilities as an affirmative action officer. Four discrimination complaints were filed by Montclair employees after Bruce’s 2022 Rao report become public, and he’s stated that he was not allowed to investigate any of these complaints, contrary to the town’s affirmative action plan. Michael has since denied all allegations.


John Cotton Dana Award Given to Yogi Berra Museum + Learning Center Director

yogi berra museum

Eve Schaenen, the Executive Director of the Yogi Berra Museum + Learning Center, has been honored with the 2024 John Cotton Dana Award. She was awarded at the New Jersey Association of Museums annual meeting on Wednesday, June 12th, held at the Historical Society of Princeton’s Updike Farmstead. According to Montclair Local, the prestigious Dana Award is given to an individual who “advances museum service to the region, demonstrates visionary and innovative leadership, and epitomizes the highest standards of professional commitment, as exemplified by museum pioneer and founder of the Newark Museum, John Cotton Dana.”


Montclair Couple Set to Debut First Album

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by First Congregational Church (@fccmontclair)

 

 Rev. John and Allison Rogers, a couple from Montclair, are releasing their first album A Little Love More, a collection of 11 Shaker songs with fresh arrangements that speak to the 21st century. This album aims to introduce a wider audience to the rich melodies of this American folk tradition that includes over 10,000 classic songs, per Montclair Local. The album will be officially released on Tuesday, August 6th in honor of the Shakers’ 250th anniversary of founding. A special soft launch celebration was held last Saturday, June 15th, at the First Congregational Church of Montclair.


Bloomfield Man Arrested After Shooting at Vehicle in Montclair Road Rage Incident

police car

A report of a road rage incident where one vehicle fired shots at another vehicle occurred around 9PM on Monday, June 17th, in the area of Washington Street and New Street. According to Montclair Local, the vehicle that fired shots fled the scene upon arrival of police. The drivers reported a road rage incident occurred between them and a driver of a white Tesla. The individual stated that he attempted to drive away from the Tesla driver at which time he reportedly fired two rounds at the victim’s vehicle: one round struck the rear windshield and the second hit the rear bumper. Based on a description of the vehicle provided by the victim, detectives were able to locate the suspect vehicle in Bloomfield. Further investigation resulted in the arrest of a 42-year-old Bloomfield man. He was charged with two counts of aggravated assault and remanded to the Essex County Jail. The investigation is still ongoing.


US Mail Stolen From Postal Van in Montclair

An unidentified man stole mail out of a U.S. Postal Service worker’s van while he was making deliveries in Montclair on Tuesday, June 11th. According to the Montclair Police Department, an employee of the U.S. Postal Service reported that he left his postal van on North Fullerton Avenue while delivering mail and when he returned, he discovered an unknown amount of mail had been stolen. Surveillance in the area shows a male with gray shorts, a plain white shirt, long black hair, and a black beard, per Patch Montclair. No further details have been released.


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