Montclair BoE: Final Budget

BY  |  Monday, Feb 28, 2011 11:00pm  |  COMMENTS (67)

The BoE keeps schools open but nixes aides.

Updated with clarification on the funding going to the Montclair Community Pre-K.

Thank goodness for that $4.6 million in state aid. That’s about $4.6 million more than the Montclair Board of Education had hoped for.

This money means that all of Montclair’s schools–i.e. Edgemont and Renaissance–will remain open for the 2011-2012 school year. The current busing system (1 mile away from the school) will stay the same. The Montclair Community Pre-K will receive funding [for the use of the classrooms that house the DLC and tuition for the DLC children that attend MCPK classes.] “With the additional funds, we’re excited about funding additional programs,” Superintendent Dr. Frank Alvarez said. “We’ll create a budget that’s sustainable for the upcoming year.” Read the backstory here.

But not everyone was happy at tonight’s BoE meeting. Even though the emergency Plan B was scrapped, the board still had to make cuts. The overall budget was down by 2.5 percent with just 4.6 percent of the money coming from the state. Long story short: Cuts had to come from somewhere.

Mainly, the BoE chose to outsource Montclair’s 200 or so paraprofessionals. As of June 30, they will be pink slipped. Continue Reading

Got Talent GR?

Monday, Feb 28, 2011 7:02pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Think you’ve got what it takes to be the Glen Ridge Idol? Whether you sing, dance, play an instrument, tell jokes, or whatever, you’re invited to audition for the annual town wide talent show, open to all residents, regardless of age or skill. Deadline for entries is Friday, March 4th. Auditions are March 14 -15.

The Talent Show is at 7:00 on March 18, in the Ridgewood Avenue School Auditorium (stage rehearsals March 16 – 17).

To enter, e-mail Brian Fisher at Brian.P.Fisher@verizon.net

Maplewood Man Struck and Killed While Changing Tire

BY  |  Monday, Feb 28, 2011 6:13pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and the Newark Police Department are investigating a fatal hit and run that took place Sunday night about 11:45 p.m. when 47-year-old Maplewood Douglas Hodgson of Maplewood was struck and killed while changing a flat tire in the area of Routes 1 & 9 South, near the Pulaski Skyway.

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Hot From The Kettle: Organic. Local. Sustainable. Market in Montclair

Monday, Feb 28, 2011 4:30pm  |  COMMENTS (5)

Last month Hot From The Kettle visited Market, now located at 12 Church Street, Montclair, to experience their new Church Street digs, and their new executive chef, Tre Ghoshal.

Chef Tre joined Market in November 2010. Chef Tre, who is of East Indian descent, has been cooking since he was thirteen. “It’s all I know,” he says.

And cooking is all he needs to know; he’s a natural.  Chef Tre is imaginative, passionate, artistic, and intuitive. He prepares his dishes with confidence and moves about the open air kitchen with fluidity and focus. Continue Reading

Oscar Night in Maplewood was Musical Magic

BY  |  Monday, Feb 28, 2011 3:07pm  |  COMMENTS (2)

While most of Baristaville was waiting for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to hand out the 83rd round of Oscar Awards (my bets were right on the money, btw), around 65 people headed over to the Highland Place Bar & Grill in Maplewood to witness an incredible musical performance in Baristaville’s newest live music venue.

The event was the mastermind of Maplewood newcomer Nat Grauman — a former music booking agent and manager who now has a corporate gig. “I missed being involved in music,” explained Grauman. “This is really a labor of love for me.”

Grauman saw the opportunity to create live music events in this musically-oriented community that had no venue. He teamed up with Highland Place’s like-minded owner Chris Farrow, whose similar vision of a neighborhood concert setting had compelled him to build a stage and sound system in the back of his restaurant. “Before this, there were no places in town to hear live music. This sets us apart,” said Farrow. While they’ve had local bands perform regularly since opening in June, Sunday night was the first Highland event that offered nationally-known performers.

Nat Grauman and Ellis Paul

Urban folk master Ellis Paul — an old friend of Grauman from his music industry days — and rising star Liz Longley provided the audience with a highly memorable, up close and personal acoustic show. Think of the intimacy of a living room concert with better acoustics, excellent food, a full bar and wait staff.

If you’ve never heard of Longley, you will soon. A recently graduated songwriting major from the Berklee College of Music, the 23 year old is soulful beyond her years. While she actively tours with performers including Shawn Colvin, Paula Cole, Nanci Griffith, Amos Lee, Colin Hay, Crowded House, Jesse Colin Young, Jonathan Edwards and Livingston Taylor, it’s doubtful that she’ll be an opening act for long. Longley released her third CD, Hot Loose Wire, last July and is the 2010 1st Place Winner of the BMI John Lennon Songwriting Scholarship Award for her song Unraveling. But enough with the credentials… once you hear her sweet and sultry voice, filled with gut-wrenching honesty, you won’t care about her pedigree.

As for Paul, well, I think it might be impossible to listen to him sing and not become transfixed by his intelligent lyrics and extraordinary voice. At times, I almost thought he was harmonizing with himself. His voice was alternately a riveting whisper and a powerful force to be reckoned with. Paul’s ability to seamlessly transition between vocals and playing the harmonica was noteworthy. Essentially, Paul’s songwriting looks into the soul of America and pulls out nuggets of truth, which he delivers with sincerity and humanity. It’s no wonder that the Woody Gutherie Foundation recognizes his contributions.

Given their proximity to the audience, it was clear that both performers genuinely enjoyed interacting with their listeners. You can’t fake something like that, and it doesn’t necessarily come hand-in-hand with talent. Both were quite funny and dared to reveal their emotions, both in lyric and stage chatter. For example, after a song about her recently broken heart, Longley assured the group that she didn’t need to be fixed up on a date with anyone’s brother/son/friend, thanks anyway. Paul sang happy birthday (with a twist) to two audience members, one celebrating her 81st. When he stepped off the stage, away from the microphone and surrounded himself with his listeners — he called it a folk singer lap dance — you had the feeling that he was your own personal bard. His charisma and charm up close have quite the affect.

The musical magic that defined the evening radiated both from the performers themselves, and from the audience, whose good fortune it was to venture out on Oscar night and find such a neighborhood gem in the Grauman/Farrow event partnership. Next up will be KJ Denhert on March 26. Oh, and Ellis Paul says he’ll be back, too. The Highland’s food and wine were a big selling point for him, apparently. Stay tuned for details.

Photos by Walter S. Oliver Photography

Giveaway: Tickets to Pippi Longstocking at The Mayo Center for The Performing Arts

BY  |  Monday, Feb 28, 2011 1:00pm  |  COMMENTS (11)

 WINNER: Congratulations to tkinnj!

Pippi Longstocking is a spunky red-headed nine-year-old who has wonderful adventures, and some mischief too. Now Astrid Lindren’s popular children’s story is an original musical and will play at The Mayo Center For the Performing Arts in Morristown on Sunday, March 6 at 4 pm.

Thanks to The Mayo Center’s generosity, Barista Kids has a family 4-pack of tickets to give to one lucky reader.

To enter keep reading…

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Coffee with…Natty Bumpercar

BY  |  Monday, Feb 28, 2011 1:00pm  |  COMMENTS (2)

Montclair surely has no shortage of interesting characters who perform, act or showcase their unique talents in the township or in the surrounding area, but this fellow — who calls himself Natty Bumpercar — has to be amongst the most colorful. An animator, artist, comedian and director, Bumpercar (who declined using any other name in this article) was formerly a graphics and web designer for the New York Times before it outsourced his entire department a few years back. When he’s not occupied with his design consulting business, Bumpercar produces art and humor that is refreshing, whimsical and extremely amusing.

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Red Cross Blood Drive, 3/2

BY  |  Monday, Feb 28, 2011 12:32pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

The American Red Cross will conduct a blood drive on Wednesday, March 2, 12:30 – 6:30 p.m. at the Women’s Club of Glen Ridge. Anyone aged 16 (with signed parental consent) and older who would like to donate can register and schedule an appointment here.

Happy Wet Seat Monday

BY  |  Monday, Feb 28, 2011 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Is grey and wet an improvement over bright and white? For me, the answer is an absolute yes.

Commuters pay a price in almost any weather, however, and today’s rain left our local commutefromhell blogger in a bit of a puddle on her trip in.

Read her post here.

Outsourced? Saving Our Special Education Aides

Monday, Feb 28, 2011 11:00am  |  COMMENTS (2)

 
 

 

Danny and his aide, Cindy Soltau

This Op-Ed piece is written by Joann Pezzano, a Developmental Learning Center (DLC) parent.

 

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I am most upset that the teacher doesn't know how to spell "too" correctly "...because I get tickets for parking to [SIC] close.."

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