Montclair’s Wellmont Theater Goes VIP, Hires Director of Premium Services

BY  |  Friday, Jul 29, 2016 2:00pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

Wellmont Theater

The Wellmont Theater has hired a Director of Premium Services. Valerie Germain, who has worked in theaters for the past 5 and half years, will oversee special events, member and VIP programs, and corporate sponsorship. Germain previously served as the Director of Membership and Special Events for the Bergen Performing Arts Center (BergenPAC) in Englewood, NJ.

Germain is spearheading a Wellmont VIP program, based on the model used at BergenPAC, that will bring behind-the-scenes experiences to patrons including “meet and greets” with artists, access to private member lounge events, and the ability to purchase the best seats in the house. “The new VIP program will be an opportunity for our customers to make The Wellmont their own,” says Germain.

Depending on the price range, which is $300 – $5,000, the VIP Program will offer things like presale tickets, a VIP lounge, meet and greets, parties, discounts with participating restaurants in town, and other perks.  General admission tickets prices will remain the same.

Germain, who lives in Jersey City, tells Baristanet that she has been getting to know Montclair for the past month since her hire and thinks it’s a really exciting place.  “There’s so much going on! It’s a walkable town and has a great sense of community,” says Germain.
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Montclair Councilor-at-Large Bob Russo Exploring a Run for Governor

BY  |  Thursday, Jul 28, 2016 10:15am  |  COMMENTS (2)

Bob_Russo_hi_res4Montclair Councilman Bob Russo, who is also a former Township Mayor, is actively exploring a gubernatorial run for 2017, reports PolitickerNJ.

“I have always had an interest in running for higher office in New Jersey,” Russo told PolitickerNJ. “Two years ago I decided to start an exploratory committee to see if I was going to run for governor. I think I am just as qualified as Jim McGreevey was when he was mayor of Woodbridge.”

In his conversation with PolitickerNJ, Russo said he was speaking with other gubernatorial contenders — announced candidate Phil Murphy, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, Assemblyman John Wisniewski, Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter, Senate President Steve Sweeney, and Senator Ray Lesniak — about his options.

It’s not the first time Russo has mentioned plans to run for governor. Russo told Baristanet he was still exploring a gubernatorial run back in December, when we asked him about the Montclair 2016 election. “I’m still exploring the 2017 race for Governor but so many have asked me to reconsider and stay on the town council to finish the good work we have been doing,” Russo said in December. He decided to run for re-election in January 2016.

He also mentioned these plans at a Township Council meeting in June 2014, and cited former Governor James McGreevey’s similar background as a township mayor, saying he was just as qualified as McGreevey and current Governor Chris Christie. Continue Reading

Montclair Council: Parking Study, Redevelopment, Charter School Opposition

BY  |  Wednesday, Jul 27, 2016 1:10pm  |  COMMENTS (3)

The long-awaited parking study for the township of Montclair was presented at the Montclair Township Council’s July 26 meeting.  The 20-minute presentation, which was supposed to be the highlight to the meeting, almost got upstaged by public comment that took over an hour, with comments on development that, ironically, included references to parking.

Tom Brown of Nelson Nygaard presents his consulting firm's parking study to the Montclair Township Council.

Tom Brown of Nelson Nygaard presents his consulting firm’s parking study to the Montclair Township Council.

Tom Brown of the Nelson Nygaard consulting firm said that the study considered key factors such as overnight parking restrictions, on-street parking availability, the need for off-street alternatives, and overspill in residential areas.  He said that the township had the opportunity to make the most of its exiting parking inventory in light of the master plan’s emphasis on transit-oriented development.  One glaring fact that stood out was the over-utilization of metered spaces on weeknights, particularly Friday nights, after they are free of charge.  Brown said that extending hours for metered parking would not only bring in more revenue but improve management of metered spaces – allowing the Montclair Parking Utility to manage demand and being more cost-effective than expanding the supply of parking spaces.  He said that the township should maximize greater use of off-street parking facilities and make it easier for non-residents – who make great use of the parking in town – to find off-street alternatives.

Brown also said that spaces with one-hour time limits should be minimized, and he added that a progressive rate allowing for more time to park at a higher price per hour should be encouraged. Continue Reading

Massive Montclair Water Main Break – Partial Street Collapse at South Park (Updated)

BY ,  |  Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016 9:18pm  |  COMMENTS (5)


UPDATE 7/27: The Montclair Water Bureau is providing notification that a water main break has occurred at 48 South Park Street (The Siena Building) which includes both residents and businesses within the Siena building on both Church and South Park Streets and has caused customers to be without water or to experience a significant loss of pressure. A potential or actual threat to the quality of water being provided to you currently exists. As a precaution, we are implementing a Boil Water Advisory until testing of the water supply is deemed satisfactory.

South Park Street this morning, July 27.

South Park Street this morning, July 27.

Starbucks is closed and barista told us they won’t open until water issues are cleared. He said that he couldn’t say anything more. NYSC, Woodhouse Day Spa, and several other shops are open. General manager Jim Delaunay of NYSC said they are open and showers are working, but they have Boil Water advisory signs all over to let members know of the issue. He praised the quick work after water main break. “Kudos to the Township of Montclair, MPD, and MFD for their quick work and fix!”

Montclair experienced a devastating water main break on South Park Street resulting in a partial street collapse. South Park is closed between Church Street and The Crescent. Water Bureau personnel are on scene to make the repair and the Montclair Police Department is handling the impact on traffic.



Businesses closed late this afternoon when water came gushing through the street. Crews will be working on the site through the night. We’re hearing reports that the buildings on South Park between Church and the Crescent may have no phone or electric. The street is buckled on both sides in front of the Verizon store and across the street.


The scene earlier today in Montclair Center (video: Joann Smalls)

A video posted by Baristanet (@baristanet) on

Photos: Dan Hamilton, Rob Marzulli

Montclair Crime: Several Thefts, DWI Arrests, and Vandalism at Nishuane Pool

BY  |  Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016 3:45pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Montclair Crime: Storm-Related Incidents, Theft, Attempted BurglaryThe week in Montclair Crime from D/Lt. David O’Dowd, Montclair Police Department:


07-22-2016 (Elm Street) Mr. Eric Dargan, 50yoa from Montclair, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

07-23-2016 (Elmwood Avenue) Mr. Keith Johnson, 44yoa from Montclair, was arrested and charged with DWI.

07-23-2016 (Union Street) Ms. Ashley Lockett-Tanks, 26yoa from Montclair, was arrested and charged with DWI.
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Montclair Planning Board To Re-Examine Master Plan

BY  |  Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (1)

The Montclair Planning Board, with four absent members, had a light agenda at its July 25 meeting, hearing no applications.  Rather, it discussed a re-examination of the township’s master plan and the need to file a report based on the re-examination. Although the current plan was adopted in May 2015, the township is required to look at the plan anew and to reconsider goals and objectives going forward every 10 years.   The last report was issued in 2006.

The Montclair Planning Board, minus Chairman John Wynn and members Carole Willis, Martin Schwartz, and Stephen Rooney

The Montclair Planning Board, minus Chairman John Wynn and members Carole Willis, Martin Schwartz, and Stephen Rooney

“The purpose of a re-examination report is to look at your land use policies and your development regulations, and determine what’s working, what’s not working, and develop, essentially, a plan of action for the next 10 years based on that review,” Planning Director Janice Talley explained.  She said that most of the goals and objectives from the previous report have been followed over time, citing the development of such items as a housing plan, a conservation plan land use and circulation plan, and numerous redevelopment plans.  In her memo to the board, Talley said that she wanted to look at land use, historic preservation, housing, transportation and economic development, as well as zoning.

Board member Anthony Ianuale asked about the zoning ordinance, which Talley said was “horrible” and needed to be overhauled.  She explained that the standards for zones and district were not clear and were a mishmash of things.  Talley thought that, with the master plan having been adopted, the board could review it through a subcommittee of members familiar with development in Montclair.  She added that, while some outside help may be needed, there should be an emphasis on input from local staff and members of both the Planning Board and the Board of Adjustment.   Vice Chair Jason DeSalvo, substituting for Chairman John Wynn, agreed that the Planning Board’s zoning subcommittee would be supportive, though he acknowledged a need to find a suitable replacement for Councilor-at Large Rich McMahon, whose term as the council’s liaison to the Planning Board ended on July 1. Continue Reading

Need To Buy A Bus Ticket or Park in Montclair? Tell Monty Tells You How

Monday, Jul 25, 2016 1:05pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Need To Buy A Bus Ticket or Park in Montclair? Tell Monty Tells You HowThere are certain things in Montclair that newbies need to find out. Like where to buy a bus ticket. Tell Monty wants to tell you how. A fun short form video started by Scott Webb and directed and edited by Austin Greene, Tell Monty hopes to explore those helpful things to know about living and doing business in Montclair (James Pugel is the actor who stars in Tell Monty’s offerings so far Nature Nate, Pay Meters and Bus Ticket videos).

Sponsored: Open House at Bradford Bath and Tennis Club

BY  |  Monday, Jul 25, 2016 9:30am

Bradford Bath and Tennis

It is one hot summer!  If you wished you joined a pool or if you’re not as happy as you hoped with the pool you frequent  – come up to Bradford Bath and Tennis on Friday, July 29th at 5:30 p.m. for an open house to see the facilities.  

Bradford Bath and Tennis Club (BBTC) is a member-owned club tucked away on the hilltop edge of Upper Montclair.  BBTC has seven sprawling acres of beautifully manicured grounds and provides an unbeatable setting overlooking the NYC skyline.   It has two heated pools, a baby pool, sports court, paddle court and eight tennis courts.  BBTC offers plenty of ways for you and your family to stay active and cool off all summer.


Bradford Bath and TennisBut the best parts of BBTC are all the great members and fun things to do.  BBTC has tennis opportunities for the beginner to advance players in your family.  There are summer camp options for children starting at five years old.  There is a swim team for school aged children and a swim program for adults who want to work on their stroke or get a killer work out.

BBTC has a spacious, well-maintained BBQ and picnic area and members take a lot of pride in their yummy grilled meals.  For nights you don’t want to grill, BBTC hosts catered dinner with guest chefs. There are several seasonal parties, live music nights, bingo nights, and fun Labor Day weekend events to close up Summer. Continue Reading

Glen Ridge Crime: Stolen Tree, DUI Arrest, Burglary

BY  |  Monday, Jul 25, 2016 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

crimeThe latest crime in Glen Ridge from Capt. Sean Quinn:

Date/Time: 7-20-2016 @ 5:54 PM
Incident: Theft
Officer Nugent responded to Chestnut Hill Place on a report of a theft of a Borough owned tree. Upon arrival, it was noted that a white oak tree, which was planted in May by the Borough of Glen Ridge, was missing. The tree is valued at $350.00. This matter is currently under investigation by the Glen Ridge Police Department’s Detective Bureau. Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Medico at 973-748-5400 x 120.

Date/Time: 7-20-2016 @ 2:36 AM
Incident: Driving Under the Influence, Possession of CDS
Sergeant Schwartz observed a vehicle driving erratically and at a high rate of speed. A motor vehicle stop was conducted and the driver, Mr. Mark Tirondola, 57 years old, of Bloomfield, New Jersey, was determined to be operating the motor vehicle while under the influence. The driver was arrested and transported to police headquarters. While in police custody, Mr. Tirondola was found to be in possession of several controlled dangerous substances. He was charged, summonsed for the motor vehicle offenses and released on bail. The matter has been turned over to the Glen Ridge Municipal Court. Continue Reading

Montclair Gets Upgraded to AAA Rating From Standard and Poor’s (UPDATED)

BY  |  Friday, Jul 22, 2016 10:49am  |  COMMENTS (11)

Montclair Gets Upgraded to AAA Rating From Standard and Poor's

Updated with official announcement from the township below.

Montclair’s fiscal health continues to improve. Last night, Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson said Montclair had just been given a AAA rating — the highest possible ranking — from Standard and Poor’s, mentioning the news at a launch party for the Montclair Jazz Festival.

The news ranks Montclair among an elite group of towns like Princeton who have attained the highest rating.

Back in 2014, Montclair had gone up from AA- to AA+.

“This is fantastic news and is something Mayor Jackson and I have strived for these last four years,” says Deputy Mayor Bill Hurlock. “It will save our Town a tremendous amount of money on our debt service going forward.”

S&P Global Rating Services announced today that it raised its long-term and underlying ratings on Montclair Township’s existing general obligation (GO) debt to “AAA” – the highest issuer credit rating the financial services company assigns. The rating represents an upgrade from the AA+ the company issued the Township in 2014.
S&P’s report cites Montclair’s ability to “consistently achieve stable financial performance supporting its very strong liquidity and strong budgetary performance and flexibility.”

The company also assigned a “AAA” long-term rating and underlying rating on the Township’s existing GO debt and stated that the outlook on all of the Township’s ratings is stable.

“This new rating increase places Montclair in the ranks of the top communities nationwide for credit worthiness and fiscal management,” said Mayor Robert Jackson. “It is an affirmation of the hard work and responsible management of taxpayers’ finances through efficient and effective fiscal policies set in place from the very beginning of this Council’s tenure. “I am truly grateful to S&P for this unprecedented vote of confidence in the Township of Montclair. My Council colleagues, Manager Stafford, CFO Rao, and Township staff deserve the credit; I’m proud of them.”

Only 3% of New Jersey’s 565 municipalities have the “AAA” rating. The current increase marks the third upgrade of the Township’s rating since 2012.

According to the report, the “AAA” GO rating reflects S&P’s assessment of the following credit factors, specifically the Township’s:

·Very strong economy, with access to a broad and diverse metropolitan statistical area (MSA);

·Strong management, with “good” financial policies and practices under S&P’s financial management assessment (FMA) methodology;

·Strong budgetary performance, with an operating surplus in the general fund in fiscal 2015;

·Strong budgetary flexibility, with an available fund balance in fiscal 2015 at 11.0% of operating expenditures;

·Very strong liquidity, with total government available cash at 28.2% of general fund expenditures and 2.7x governmental debt service, as well as access to external liquidity S&P considers strong;

· Strong debt and contingent liability position, with debt service carrying charges at 10.5% of expenditures, net direct debt at 88.5% of general fund revenue, and low overall net debt at less than 3% of market value and rapid amortization, with 78.4% of debt scheduled to be retired in 10 years; and

· Strong institutional framework score.

“The AAA rating is the testament to policies put in place by the governing body to place the township on a solid financial footing for now — and for the long term,” said acting Township Manager Timothy Stafford. “It reaffirms the efficacy of Council’s continued focus on making smart financial decisions which help strengthen the local economy, making the community a desirable place to live, work and do business.”

The full S&P Global Rating Services report is available for download here

Featured Comment

How many years have I heard these tales of downplaying the re-appraisal game? Most homeowners will see a bump in their property taxes. Start budgeting now. "Winter is coming."

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