DHS Secretary, War Hero Speak at Montclair Memorial Day Observance

BY  |  Monday, May 25, 2015 4:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson speaks at the 2015 Montclair Memorial Day ceremony.

Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson speaks at the 2015 Montclair Memorial Day ceremony.

Montclair held its annual Memorial Day observance in Edgemont Memorial Park, which was developed as a public space in 1925 to honor the veterans of World War I (then called the World War of the Great War). Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary and Montclair resident Jeh Johnson was the featured speaker, and retired U.S. Air Force Major William Horn, a Montclair resident since 2010, spoke about his experiences in Vietnam.

Johnson, the fourth DHS Secretary, was introduced by Mayor Robert Jackson, who cited Johnson’s many accomplishments,  including his service as a federal prosecutor, General Counsel of the Air Force, and General Counsel of the Defense Department.  Johnson said his proudest distinction was to be a Montclair resident.  When he first came here to look at houses, he said, “I knew this was going to be home.”  He praised his adopted hometown as an “urbane suburb” that embraced progressive values.

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Baristaville Open Houses: Sunday, May 24

BY  |  Saturday, May 23, 2015 10:52am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Approximately 44 properties are showing in Baristaville this holiday weekend. Highlights include a renovated carriage house in South Orange and a few new listings.

glenridge0524134 Ridgewood Ave., Glen Ridge

List Price: $649,000

Taxes: $20,612

Acreage: n/a


This nine-room split level has been on the market for about one month; it is the only property showing in Glen Ridge this weekend. Highlights include an updated kitchen, hardwood floors, a fireplace in the living room and central air. There is a partially finished full, walkout basement and a two-car attached garage. Outside, there is an open porch, patio and fire pit. The house was built in 1953. Open 2 to 4 p.m. Continue Reading

Sweet and Friendly Cat at Cameron Animal Hospital in Need of a Family

BY  |  Thursday, May 21, 2015 2:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

 Cameron Animal Hospital

Looking for a cat to adopt? A sweet and friendly cat at Cameron Animal Hospital, located at 417 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair, is in need of a family:

Looking for a sweet cat? Spotty is your girl. She gave birth to three kittens who were just as sweet and friendly as she, and have already been adopted. Now, Spotty is looking for a home of her own! You may have met her at the last adoption day. She’s super friendly, loves being pet and cuddling, and would make a great lap cat. She loves to play with toys. She’s about 2 to 3 years old and plays well with other cats.

To meet Spotty, call Cameron Animal Hospital at 973-744-2052 or email here.



First Ward Councilor William Hurlock to Hold Community Meeting May 28

BY  |  Thursday, May 21, 2015 11:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

bill-hurlock-smFirst Ward Councilor William Hurlock will host a community meeting on Thursday, May 28, from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. at the Bellevue Avenue Branch of the Montclair Public Library, 185 Bellevue Avenue. Topics to be discussed will include matters specific to the First Ward as well as township issues in general. All are welcome to attend.



Bloomfield Crime: Burglaries, Theft, and Several Arrests

BY  |  Wednesday, May 20, 2015 1:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

crimeThis week’s Bloomfield crime blotter from Sgt. Anthony J. Servedio:


5/11/15 – An apartment was burglarized on the 300 block of Franklin Street between 9:30 am and 2:00 pm. Pry marks on the door indicated forced entry and 7 watches valued at approximately $11,000.00 was reported missing by the victim.

5/13/15 – A resident from the 100 block of Newark Avenue reported to Police that a shed on his property was burglarized between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm on 5/12/15. A blue woman’s NEXT bicycle, valued at approximately $150.00 was taken. The victim also reported that he believes someone attempted to gain entry into his home, as a screen on his sun room was found cut. No entry is believed to have been gained to the sun room or residence.

5/14/15 – Two steel contractor’s boxes were broken into on a construction site located on the 300 block of Franklin Street. A padlock on a gate was cut to gain entry to the site. A total of approximately $14,000.00 worth of tools was taken from the boxes.

5/17/15 – On Ella St. the victim of a burglary that reported that he discovered a basement window open and then noticed that several items including: 2 televisions, a X-Box game system and a Dell laptop computer had been stolen from his residence. The incident was pinpointed through video evidence to have occurred at approximately 8:50 pm when a male was captured on tape opening the side door of the victim’s residence. A short time later 2 other males can be seen leaving the residence each carrying a television.

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Montclair Township Council: Abandoned Properties, Arts Advisory Committee, Honoring Michael Aron

BY  |  Wednesday, May 20, 2015 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (10)

With only two pending ordinances, one first-reading ordinance and four resolutions – one of which was ultimately tabled – to be voted on, the May 19 Montclair Township Council meeting  looked to go quickly and smoothly. Then, without warning, a husband and wife took to the podium in the public comment period and temporarily turned it into a school board meeting.

George Bennett and Karen Stevenson each took a turn expressing concerns about the Montclair school district, addressing the council in general and Mayor Robert Jackson in particular in his capacity as chair of the Board of School Estimate. He found that schools just outside the district, such as North Star Academy Charter School in Newark and Elizabeth’s eponymous high school, outperformed Montclair High School in scores and testing, and he said that the people who run the district have not succeeded in getting students up to par. He singled out former Superintendent Penny MacCormack – whom he twice called “McNamara” before being corrected – as an example.

“Our problem starts with the superintendent all the way down to the principal level,” Bennett said.  “If this was like corporate America, they’d have gotten rid of them a long time ago.  I don’t understand how we keep selecting people who cannot change the achievement gap when other places have absolutely solved it.”

Both Bennett and Dr. Stevenson cited problems with students being unable to, among other things, tell the passive voice form the active voice or a mood from a tense, or understand the difference between 3.5 and 3.50.  Dr.  Stevenson also noted cases where teachers teach that mass and weight are the same, which is wrong, and that grammar isn’t taught at all.  “How,” can you speak in the English language when you do not understand the rules of grammar, when you do not understand the laws by which a sentence should be constructed?”

Dr. Stevenson said she sent e-mails to interim Superintendent Ronald Bolandi, Chief Academic Officer Gail Clarke, and Mayor Jackson about her concerns and noted that the mayor was the only one who bothered to reply. Mayor Jackson said that the couple raised “compelling” points in the public and said he could talk with them offline about what could be done. Fourth Ward Councilor Renée Baskerville  said that she had looked at the same data Bennett and Dr. Stevenson had, but she was more optimistic about the change of leadership in the district and encouraged them to continue participating.


327 Grove Street, seen from its side facing Prescott Avenue.  The abandoned house, which has caused discontent among neighbors, is one of many abandoned properties Montclair is trying to deal with.  Image courtesy of Google.

327 Grove Street, seen from its side facing Prescott Avenue. The abandoned house, which has caused discontent among neighbors, is one of many abandoned properties Montclair is trying to deal with. Image courtesy of Google.


Township  Attorney Ira Karasick also updated the council about going after abandoned buildings.  He reported as examples that the township was moving to take care of an abandoned property at 327 Grove Street with which the bank wasn’t moving forward due to property belong to squatters who had been there before, but the situation was straightened earlier in the day out so it could be cleaned out.  Also, he said, the bank was working with code enforcement to take care of the house at 13 Talbot Street, where a pipe burst.  These were two of many examples of abandoned properties across town. He did not identify the bank(s) by name.

Second Ward Councilor Robin Schlager expressed frustration over the Grove Street property on the corner of Grove Street and Prescott Avenue, which has been vacant since 2008 and has caused consternation among the neighbors. Karasick said the he could help arrange a meeting of residents to deal with the issue. Mayor Jackson expressed consternation of his own.

“My position is, until we demonstrate to the banks that we’re serious, this is not going to end,” he said.  “Until we demonstrate seriousness and purpose, we’re just talking to ourselves.  We need to do something.” He said he thought the purpose of hiring the outside person overseeing  the issue was to ensure the expediting of the process, and that he wasn’t satisfied. Karasick said he’d send the mayor memos he has of the progress currently going forward, and he admitted that the most extreme cases were egregious. He said he needed to work with the Department of Community Services  to get landscapers to take care of the properties and supervise the work, but there were logistic issues holding up progress.

On the head shop issue, Karasick reported to Dr. Baskerville that the township has the authority to restrict them, and there are amendments to its existing head-shop ordinance in the works, but he added that shop owners need notice, with specifics of what is and is not allowed. School zones cannot be used to control such shops, he said, because most of the central business district along Bloomfield Avenue would be off-limits given the proximity of several public schools to Montclair Center.

“We have some work to do,” Karasick said regarding the amendments, “but the work is being done right now.”

Theater director Elaine Molinaro, the first member of the newly created Montclair Arts Advisory Committee

Theater director Elaine Molinaro, the first member of the newly created Montclair Arts Advisory Committee

Councilor Schlager was at the forefront with all three of the four resolutions considered (the tabled fourth resolution concerned the proposed cancellation of open and future sewer charges for the Glen Ridge-owned tennis courts at Willowdale Avenue, withdrawn for further scrutiny). In addition to the bill resolution, Councilor Schlager brought forward a resolution establishing the Montclair Arts Advisory Committee, which is to promote the arts in the township, and a subsequent resolution appointing theater director Elaine Molinaro to the committee.  Molinaro’s term runs from June 1 of this year to December 31, 2016; the rest of the committee will be selected from volunteers who offer their services through the volunteer form on the township Web site.

Deputy Mayor Robert Russo reads the proclamation honoring New Jersey public television journalist Michael Aron, standing at right.

Deputy Mayor Robert Russo reads the proclamation honoring New Jersey public television journalist Michael Aron, standing at right.

Also, several proclamations were issued at the start of the meeting for, among other things, Make Music Days on June 20 and 21, which will feature musical performances throughout the town, a recognition of the death of local educator Viola May Williams-Simpson, and Older Americans Month.  Journalist Michael Aron, a Montclair resident since 1995, was on hand to receive a proclamation from Deputy Mayor Robert Russo (originally passed on April 14)  in honor of his thirty-third anniversary as a political correspondent for the state public television network NJTV (formerly NJN).  The Philadelphia-born Aron, whose 45-year career includes reporting for Harper’s and Rolling Stone, said that, despite  having covered numerous political figures for New Jersey public television, this was his first appearance at a Montclair council meeting.

“It’s where the real power is,” Deputy Mayor Russo joked.

“I love Montclair,” Aron said.  “I think it’s the best town in northern New Jersey, which is why I can’t quite bring myself to leave it.”



AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda Screening at The Clairidge

BY  |  Wednesday, May 20, 2015 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)

AWAKE: The Life of YoganandaA Gathr campaign has been organized to bring a screening of AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda to Montclair on Monday, June 8.

The film, by Oscar-nominee Paola di Florio and Sundance winner Lisa Leeman, is about Hindu mystic Paramahansa Yogananda who brought yoga and meditation to the West in 1920 and wrote the spiritual classic “Autobiography of a Yogi,” a go-to book for seekers from George Harrison to Steve Jobs. By personalizing his own quest for enlightenment and sharing his struggles along the path, Yogananda made ancient teachings accessible to a modern audience and led millions onto the path of self-realization.

Gathr screenings can only happen if a minimum number of people reserve tickets before a screening request expires. On every screening page you’ll find an update that shows you the number of current reservations, the number of additional reservations needed to tip the screening, as well as how much time remains before that screening request expires. Only 4 more tickets have ot be sold to being the screening of AWAKE to The Clairidge. Surely Montclair, which is full of yoga studios, would be interested.

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Montclair, Glen Ridge Planning Boards Consider Redevelopment Designation at Mountainside Hospital

BY  |  Wednesday, May 20, 2015 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (1)

Jessica Giorgiani of H2M Architects + Engineers leads the presentation on determining redevelopment around Mountainside Hospital.

Jessica Giorgianni of H2M Architects + Engineers leads the presentation on determining redevelopment around Mountainside Hospital.

The planning boards of  Montclair and Glen Ridge met at the Montclair Fire Department headquarters on May 18 to go over a consultants’ presentation addressing the area around Mountainside Hospital, which is looking to expand its footprint in the neighborhood straddling the two towns. Consultants Jessica Giorgianni and Jeff Janota of H2M Architects + Engineers determined that the area should be redeveloped, with a few properties rehabilitated, and they went through a highly detailed explanation of their study. All expect one of the twenty properties affected are in Montclair, with the nursing school property in Glen Ridge. The Montclair Planning Board endorsed the study for the township council’s review, but chose to recommend exempting two properties from inclusion as properties in area in need of redevelopment, suggesting that they be designated in need of rehabilitation instead.

In their presentation, Giorgianni and Janota said that the nursing school building was in an untenable state of disrepair and had several fire code violations, and that it was no longer suitable for modern medical use. Mountainside’s proposed new office building would replace the school building.

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Bloomfield’s Forest Glen School Learns About Food and Farming at Brookdale ShopRite

BY  |  Tuesday, May 19, 2015 1:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

SRite PreK 4

Preschoolers at Bloomfield’s Forest Glen School have a gardening project, they are growing vegetables in the classroom. Pots of herbs, vines of tomatoes and tubs of carrots are changing from seeds to plants to edible produce.

This week at Brookdale ShopRite, these little farmers are learning the next step: How fruit and vegetables are sold. ShopRite Dietitian, Jessica Serdikoff, invited the youngsters to participate in a scavenger hunt to find produce sold fresh, such as broccoli, processed food like tomato sauce and frozen vegetables. Afterwards they participated in a healthy eating activity and snack related to what they had picked up.

The children enjoyed a hands on experience of learning how food moves from farm to store to table.

SRite PreK 1

SRite PreK 2

Montclair Crime: Burglaries, Theft, and Arrests

BY  |  Tuesday, May 19, 2015 12:31pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

Montclair Crime: String Of Burglaries, One Seen by Homeowner on Remote SurveillanceThe week in Montclair Crime from Lt. David O’Dowd, Montclair Police Department:


05-17-2015 (Grandview Place) Three juvenile males were arrested for breaking into vehicles. They were found in possession of proceeds from numerous thefts in the area.

05-12-2015 (CVS Pharmacy, Claremont Avenue) Mr. Bobby Williams, 41yoa from Irvington, was arrested for shoplifting numerous pieces of electronics.

05-14-2015 (Maple Avenue) Mr. Alquon Mosely, 44yoa from Newark, was arrested for a no bail warrant out of the Essex County Sheriff’s Office and a $789 warrant out of Newark

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I’d love to take the family to see Robin Hood on stage and his attempts to help the 99%!

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