Seen Around Town: Snowy Day

BY  |  Friday, Feb 05, 2016 7:57am  |  COMMENTS (0)



This is what Montclair roads look like right now. Schools have a 2-hour delay this morning, but there is a Winter Weather Advisory in effect until noon and an expected 3-5 inches this morning.

Anyone else want to get back in bed?



Bloomfield Council Appoints Animal Shelter Advisory Committee, Tables Local Ethics Commission

BY  |  Thursday, Feb 04, 2016 6:00am  |  COMMENTS (2)

council2_1_2015 In back-to-back conference and regular meetings held in the Council Chambers Monday evening, the Bloomfield Council members caught up on numerous board and commission appointments and passed resolutions to award professional service contracts for the year.

Animal Shelter Advisory Committee

Mayor Venezia announced the appointment of six out of seven members of the Animal Shelter Advisory Committee, which was created by ordinance in December of 2015. A seventh spot remains open.

The committee members are Karen Banda, Jerry Blasi, Cathy Carfagno, Mimi Michalski, Diane Myer, and Charina Schott. After the meeting, Mayor Venezia said he would attend the first committee meeting and swear the members in at that time.

Other Appointments/Contract Awards Continue Reading

Honoring Dr. King Today

BY  |  Monday, Jan 18, 2016 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

"Keeping the Dream," A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at NJPAC

Dr. Martin Luther King’s life has been honored by a national holiday since 1986. Today throughout Baristaville and the nation, people will come together to remember Dr. King at a service or by participating in a day of service.




Bloomfield Council Takes No Action after Councilman Requests Legal Representation

BY  |  Sunday, Jan 17, 2016 10:34am  |  COMMENTS (1)

councilconference1_11_16At last Monday evening’s conference meeting, the mayor and council did not act after Councilman Joe Lopez requested the mayor and council to provide legal representation to defend him against charges stemming from a confrontation that occurred in the parking lot between him and members of the Chalet family after the previous week’s council meeting.

Lopez described the incident in detail prior to making his request. He stated that after the last meeting when he had made his argument regarding the charges against Councilman Chalet for allegedly accepting bribes, he, his wife and 70-year-old father had left the building and were in their car when the car was surrounded by several people. He said one of them held his phone camera to his face, shining a blinding light, and he couldn’t see who was outside the car.

When he realized there were several people around the car, he said, “At one moment I thought I was being carjacked.” He said he then realized it was “members of the Chalet family.” Lopez said he felt “threatened, harassed, intimidated, terrorized,” and was concerned about his wife and father’s safety.

He said he felt this was retaliation for his having taken a position against the charges against Councilman Chalet. “I have every right to request that… for him to step down…,” he added, “just as everyone else has the right not to accept it.”

He went on to say that his family feels threatened, because he said he had learned that the Chalet family member who approached his car “is a career criminal.” “You can look him up, see all the charges, the mugshots,” he added.  Lopez was referring to Daniel Chalet, who was convicted in 2014 of a scam to defraud Home Depot out of almost $500,000 and is currently on probation.

According to police reports obtained by PolitickerNJ, Lopez said that he had opened the car door and knocked the phone from Chalet’s hand in self-defense, whereas Chalet claimed Lopez had purposely knocked the door into his knee and punched him twice in the face, a charge Lopez denies. Continue Reading

Protesters Rally Against Corruption at First Bloomfield Council Meeting of 2016

BY  |  Tuesday, Jan 05, 2016 8:05pm  |  COMMENTS (8)

crowd1_4A large crowd turned out for a “Rally Against Corruption” at Town Hall on Monday evening prior to the 2016 Reorganization Meeting in council chambers.

Because of the cold, the protesters crowded into the entryway and foyer of the building to hear speeches by the organizers, who are calling for the resignation of Councilman Elias Chalet, who was arrested on November 16, 2015 on second-degree bribery charges.

The November 16 charges accuse Chalet of accepting a $15,000 bribe in return for using his influence to ensure the township went ahead with the planned purchase of a local commercial property. Since that time, two subpoenas have been issued to the township demanding paperwork going back to 2011, including documents from the Planning and Zoning Boards as well as the Town Council.

townhallsign1_4A large banner fluttered in the cold wind outside Town Hall on Monday evening, identifying the group that organized the rally, Citizens Organized to Rapidly Remove Underhanded Political Takers (CORRUPT).  The group was reportedly organized by Stephanie Gulley, Robert and Kathleen DeMarino, Russell Zimmerman and Yudi Sobharam.

The protesters packed the council chambers, which were already half full of a large group of supporters of Councilman Chalet, many of them family members.

The mayor and all members of the council were present for the meeting, including Chalet. Municipal Clerk Louise Palagano and Township Attorney Brian Aloia were absent; they were replaced by JoAnn Bruno and Assistant Attorney Steve Martino, respectively, for the meeting.

council1_4_2015Mayor Venezia opened the meeting and proceeded directly to public comment.

First up to the lectern was resident Pat Gilleran, who questioned the value of several land purchases the Township had made or had been considering. She pointed out discrepancies between assessments of value of the properties compared to the higher amounts the Township paid or planned to pay for them. Continue Reading

Montclair’s Own Rockin’ New Year’s Eve for the Younger Set

BY  |  Friday, Jan 01, 2016 10:46am  |  COMMENTS (0)

NYE 2015 with Jungle Gym Band

Last night, The Old Mogul Theatre hosted an all ages show for an active and energetic child-centric New Year’s Eve! Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Band were the centerpiece of the evening, with a crowd-pleasing performance from Izabelle the Amazing (she really is!), face painting by Anne Malone, and an artsy & craftsy table with crowns, masks, and flowers to help celebrate the evening in style. Continue Reading

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign Crackdown Begins Today

BY  |  Friday, Dec 11, 2015 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (2)

Drive Sober or Get Pulled OverLocal Police Departments are cracking down on drunk drivers as part of the annual holiday season “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” statewide campaign.

Beginning December 11, and continuing through January 1, 2016, local and state law enforcement officials will conduct saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints looking for motorists who may be driving while intoxicated.

The national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” effort endeavors to raise awareness about the dangers of impaired driving through a combination of high-visibility enforcement and public education

Last year, 27% of all motor vehicle fatalities in New Jersey were alcohol-related. Nationally, more than 10,000 people die each year in drunk driving crashes. The societal cost associated with these crashes is estimated to be $37 billion annually.

Law enforcement agencies participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over 2015 Year End Holiday Crackdown offer the following advice for holiday season:

Continue Reading

Bloomfield to Pass Pay-to-Play Legislation, Form Ethics Commission

BY  |  Thursday, Dec 03, 2015 11:30am


The Bloomfield council agreed to move ahead with a pay-to-play ordinance limiting allowable campaign contributions at Tuesday evening’s council meeting. They also agreed to form an Ethics Commission, with details to be finalized at the next conference meeting.

The measures were introduced in the wake of the recent arrest of First Ward Councilman Elias Chalet on second-degree bribery charges. The charges allege that Chalet accepted a $15,000 bribe from Sanjay Patel, the owner of a Getty gas station that the council was considering purchasing to use as the site of a water pumping station, a use which would result in a substantial cost savings to the town. Chalet allegedly told Patel that in exchange for the money he would use his influence to ensure the township bought the property.

Continue Reading

Ready, Set, Pitch!

BY  |  Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 11:30am

pitchapaloozaIf you’ve ever wanted to turn that book idea you’ve had mulling around inside your head into something more concrete, Pitchapalooza may be the event for you.

Founded 10 years ago by the Montclair husband-and-wife team of David Henry Sterry and Arielle Eckstut, Pitchapalooza is like an American Idol for books (only kinder and gentler, Sterry and Eckstut will tell you). Writers show up with an idea, twenty are chosen at random to pitch the idea in one minute, and a panelist of judges declares a winner. That winner receives an introduction to an agent or publisher appropriate for his or her book.

So get your pitches ready: There will be a Montclair Pitchapalooza event this Sunday, October 25, at 2pm at the main branch of the public library (50 South Fullerton St.). Continue Reading

Animal Shelter, Crime and Speeding Discussed at Bloomfield Community Forum

BY  |  Friday, Oct 09, 2015 6:05pm  |  COMMENTS (3)

New Township Administrator Matt Watkins responds to questions from the public.

New Township Administrator Matt Watkins responds to questions from the public.

The future management of Bloomfield’s animal shelter, crime, speeding and other issues were addressed at a community forum held at Temple Ner Amid in Bloomfield on Thursday evening.

Mayor Michael Venezia and Councilmen Nick Joanow and Elias Chalet were present, as well as Police Director Sam DeMaio and newly-appointed Township Administrator, Matt Watkins.

The meeting opened with brief remarks by the Mayor, Township Administrator Watkins, and Police Director DeMaio, followed by a question-and-answer period.

Animal Shelter Continue Reading

Featured Comment

This is such a great story. Really a great example of "community". Kudos to Andrew and Beth for getting this going. It takes courage, commitment, and love!

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