Essay: When the Cheering Stops

BY  |  Thursday, May 19, 2016 1:15pm  |  COMMENTS (5)

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It has been 18 years since I missed an opening day, which totals 10 years of little league, four years of high school and four more years playing Division 1 softball at Seton Hall University. Now there is a deafening quiet in my life as all the cheering has stopped.

I was one of a very few Dad’s whose daughter played a DIVISION 1 sport. It is a very exclusive club. Sara was a born a natural. She was gifted with an athleticism that was obvious when I first noticed the way she positioned her body while digging sand from a hole at the beach. She had perfect angles and possessed a precise rhythm, driven by her effortless determination. She had an inherent strength and natural fluidity both in sync with time and motion. Her field perception was as effortless and precise as a prima ballerina, always with a smile.

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Letter to the Editor: Let’s Get Back to Work

BY  |  Wednesday, May 18, 2016 8:52am  |  COMMENTS (28)

letter to the editorThe following is a Letter to the Editor sent by Shelly Lombard, a former Montclair BOE member:

At Monday’s Board of Education meeting, everyone agreed it’s time to focus on children again; including the people who’ve dominated Board meetings with unsubstantiated accusations like the one about the union president’s computer being searched. So where do we go from here?

First, the mayor should let the three new Board members take their seats. State law doesn’t provide a way to “un-appoint” someone. They were great choices when he selected them a month ago and they still are. They didn’t violate any OPRA or OPMA laws because they haven’t been sworn in yet. It seems the only thing they did “wrong” was wanting someone other than Jessica DeKoninck as president.

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Blog: On Sean Spiller — Follow the Money

BY  |  Monday, May 09, 2016 2:00pm  |  COMMENTS (29)

Baristanet-BlogsA few days ago on the Montclair Watercooler there was a discussion of the political race for the 3rd Ward Council seat in Montclair between Sean Spiller (the incumbent) and resident Maureen Edelson. I initiated that thread based upon other comments I had read about mailed campaign literature (ads) by Mr. Spiller. At one point in the discussion, a member of the group inquired, “Where does the money come from for all these ads.”

Since I have recused myself of any discussion of education issues on the Montclair Watercooler, I could only answer that query with a comment that the information is available, and someone should report back on it. Here is that “reporting.”

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Blog: Montclair Motorists: Shame on You – Big Increase in Pedestrians Hit in the 1st Quarter of 2016

BY  |  Thursday, May 05, 2016 1:00pm  |  COMMENTS (2)

Baristanet-BlogsThe following post is by Alex Kent, a coordinator at Drive with Care in Montclair and a community liaison for Montclair Health and Wellness Partnership:

In the first quarter of 2016 the number of incidents where a car hit and injured a pedestrian in Montclair almost doubled from a year earlier, to 18 pedestrian crashes this year versus 10 last year. February was the worst month, with 9 crashes. Also disturbing is the fact that two of the victims were children who were hit near their schools, a 9 year old by Hillside School, and an 11 year old by Bradford School. Both incidents were the drivers’ fault, not the childs’. Drivers were responsible for 15 of the crashes, with 3 being attributed to the pedestrian.

Once again Bloomfield Avenue was the most dangerous street with 3 crashes, followed by Valley Road with 2, and the Mountainside Hospital parking deck with 2.

The Pedestrian Safety Committee is working to encourage drivers to be more aware: put down the phone, don’t speed, and if you are in an area with crosswalks, be pro-active about looking for pedestrians trying to cross.

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Op-Ed: Lessons on Sustainability from New Jersey’s Bike Summit

BY  |  Saturday, Apr 02, 2016 2:30pm

BG HeadshotThe following Op-Ed was submitted by Essex County Freeholder Brendan Gill:

As part of my ongoing efforts to promote cycling and walking opportunities in Essex County, I recently attended New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition’s 7th Annual Summit in Princeton on February 27th. Cycling and pedestrians advocates from all across the Northeast were there, bright and early, to share their thoughts on how our state can learn from other states and cities how to create safer and more efficient bike paths and a more cyclist friendly culture. Continue Reading

Flic Spa Shares A Love Story on Valentine’s Day

BY  |  Sunday, Feb 14, 2016 9:00am

flicEvery couple has their own way of communicating. Flic Spa owners Lerrick Santos and Oliver Dimaya have been together for 24 years. Lerrick, on the Flic blog, shares how his definition of love has evolved.

Valentine’s Day is this Sunday, which led me to thinking about love. Romance is definitely in the air, since both branches of Flic Spa have been sold out for Valentine’s Day weekend, for months now. I’m proud to say our spas have been venues for countless anniversary celebrations, date nights and even some marriage proposals. We are honored to be a part of our clients’ love story.

Speaking of which, the movie Love Story was two years old when our family moved to America. The theme song, written by Francis Lai, a French man with an Asian sounding name, was a huge hit with great staying power. My father brought home the Easy Piano version of the sheet music, so he could enjoy the lilting melody played live at home.

That is, until he heard my version, which sounded no different from the padfooted interpretation by our cat Precious, strolling along the piano keys My mother came to the rescue, since she was our family’s genuine musical talent, nurtured by two years of childhood piano lessons and authenticated by first place wins at a string of singing contests during her teen years. Her rich, alto voice garnered cash prizes and inexplicably, a solid teak bookcase and a ukulele.

“A bookcase and a ukulele,” I said, incredulous. “For first place. At a singing contest?”

“I guess it is strange,” said my mother. “Hoy! It’s an honor. Now play.“

She was out of my sight, but I knew she was wincing throughout my performance. Next came the coaching: “You’re not playing it with any feeling!” or “You’re just plowing through it!” and “You play like an animal. With hooves!” I knew she was right. To my defense, the sheet music was littered with black, angry notes, clearly written by a madman with a grudge against child pianists. Playing Love Story felt like walking against the wind, along the edge of a cliff.

The sheet music’s cover, in stark contrast with the dangerous music within, featured a languid portrait of the movie’s lead actors, a strapping Ryan O’Neal and a doe-like Ali McGraw. On the bottom was the movie’s romantic tagline: “Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry.”

“What does it mean?” I asked my mother, pivoting the topic away from my piano playing. Plus the irony was stunning — I must have said ‘sorry’ a hundred times under my breath, after playing every wrong note.

“When you’re in love, you don’t say sorry.”

“Sorry for what?”

“For bad things. When you get older you’ll understand. Now, do your homework.”

“And why can’t we watch it? Bonnie Kessler’s parents let her.”

“That’s why Bonnie is failing in school – don’t tell her that. Now, do your homework, or I’ll give you something to be sorry about.”

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

“Ay, naku!”

Spoiler alert. If you haven’t seen Love Story, the plot goes like this: Boy meets girl; Girl Dies; Boy Cries; You Cry. I wondered if the writer of that sentence wrote it in a fit of inspiration, or if it took many discarded versions: Continue Reading

Blog: Putting Aside Our Petty Differences

BY  |  Thursday, Dec 10, 2015 11:00am  |  COMMENTS (1)

Evan Cutler & Warren Zanes. (Photo credit:  Lucian Zanes)

Evan Cutler & Warren Zanes. (Photo credit: Lucian Zanes)

On Friday night at the Montclair Public Library, Evan Cutler will be interviewing Warren Zanes (both Montclair residents) about his new book “Petty: The Biography.” The Q&A will be followed by a set of live music with Warren and his band. The event is free to all Montclair residents. Reserve tickets online here. This blog post is written by Cutler:

Friends told us we’d love Montclair because it was a special place— bustling with writers, musicians, scholars, and people who worked in film and television. When our family moved to town back in 2004, one of the first people I met was a guy named Warren Zanes. And he happened to be a writer. And a musician. And a scholar. And yes—he worked in both film and TV.

We became fast friends. I had known of him from his days in the Del Fuegos –a Boston-based rock band he played in with his brother Dan back in the 80s. His family had just moved here from Cleveland, where he had been working as Vice President of Education at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As our friendship blossomed, I got to know another side of Warren—one I could not get my head around. And that was his obsession with Tom Petty.

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Blog: Say NO to Rooftop Addition on the Montclair Police Building

BY  |  Monday, Sep 28, 2015 7:00am  |  COMMENTS (18)

policeLinda Cranston is co-founder of the Save Upper Montclair Facebook group:

Say NO to Rooftop Addition on the Police Building Again! Residents have to ask officials and our town planner to do the right thing for our town.

The Gateway 2 Redevelopment Plan seeks to place a two story addition on the roof of the historically designated Police Station/1st Municipal Building, even though it is protected and a key building in our downtown historic district and therefore the exterior cannot be altered.

Even though, The Secretary of the Interior Standards for Historic Preservation Brief #14 States:

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Blog: Stepdog

BY  |  Monday, May 18, 2015 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (3)

eddiesadAs odd as it sounds, I finally made peace with my stepdog Eddie in Montclair.

A 40-pound Blue Heeler mix with dark spots on white fur, Eddie and I had been waging war for nearly ten years, ever since I stayed over at my then boyfriend Jim’s townhouse in Los Angeles and his dog peed outside the bedroom door.

The message was clear — “He’s mine.”

When I fell in love with Jim, I had braced myself for two stepkids. Never, ever did I worry about a stepdog. But in trying to find my place within my new instant family, Eddie was the one I couldn’t win over. He barked at the sight of me. He stood guard and tried to intercept me whenever I moved in Jim’s direction. He jumped between us when Jim and I tried to kiss or dance. He behaved like a jealous mistress – one capable of biting — who knew who had come first. Jim got him from a rescue place exactly four months before we started dating. I was the intruder.

When several years into our marriage we moved to New Jersey, I thought I had found my opening. I tried to leave Eddie behind.

“He’s a California dog,” I told my husband. “He’s used to perfect weather and sunbathing. He’ll be miserable on the East Coast.”

“He’s family,” Jim said.

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BLOG: RIP Latrena May: Working to Prevent Future Loss in the Wake of Tragedy

BY  |  Monday, May 11, 2015 9:00am

Latrena May VigilThe following is a blog post by Kristin Wald, an Advisory Board Member of Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates (S.O.F.I.A.)

Latrena May was a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a teacher, a neighbor, a woman, a person. Latrena May was all those things and more when the father of her child shot and killed her in front of her East Orange home as she flagged down a police officer.

At a Friday night vigil for Latrena in front of East Orange City Hall, a lot of people said a lot of things about her death being a terrible loss, a horrible act, a tragedy. And that is all too true. It is true every time. And that’s why we must do more than lament losses; we must work to interrupt the cycle of domestic violence that allows situations like Latrena’s to become deadly.

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Featured Comment

This story is far from over. Too many people know way too much. Just a matter of time before someone spills the beans. If I was investigating this, the smoking gun could be found by looking into the BOE's decision to "cast a wide net" investigation.

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