Montclair Township Council Talks About Water Rates, Police Vehicles, Sanitation Trucks

BY  |  Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (3)

Acting Montclair Township Manager Timothy Stafford (center) sits between Township Clerk Linda Wanat and First Ward Councilor William Hurlock at his first Montclair Township Council meeting.

Acting Montclair Township Manager Timothy Stafford (center) sits between Township Clerk Linda Wanat and First Ward Councilor William Hurlock at his first Council meeting.

The Montclair Township Council had a short regular meeting on October 21 that  managed to cover a lot of ground. The acting township manager, Timothy Stafford, said little but received the congratulations of council members for his new job and observed the proceedings. He began the meeting by saying he was “very excited” about the job, having found his first couple of days “enlightening” and “chaotic.”

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Montclair Bread Company is the Donut Showdown Champion

BY  |  Monday, Oct 20, 2014 11:30am  |  COMMENTS (3)

Montclair Bread Company

Chef Francesco Palmieri, Winner Rachel Crampsey, and her husband Kevin Crampsey

On Thursday night when The Cooking Channel aired the “Fiesta” episode of Donut Showdown, we learned that Rachel Crampsey, baker and owner of Montclair Bread Company, won the competition and took home the $10,000 prize. Last night, she celebrated in style hosting a viewing party at The Orange Squirrel in Bloomfield, with her friends and family cheering her on, and enjoying drinks, Chef Francesco Palmieri’s food, and Rachel’s winning donuts— Fried dough puffs with a marshmallow black licorice filling and a red fruit glaze, a Sangria doughnut with red wine dough, fruit filling, a Margarita donut with lime filling and a tequila glazed rim and Tres Leches donut with triple milk filling, avocado whipped cream.

“Winning the show was the most gratifying experience of my career, Rachel says. “It felt like every sacrifice I’ve made to get this far was finally worth something.”

Check out some photos from the party and enjoy Rachel’s amazing donuts at Montclair Bread Company:

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Montclair Historic Preservation Commission Reviews Plans From Plofker, Grabowsky

BY  |  Friday, Oct 17, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (9)

Janice Talley and Ira Karasick at the October 16 Montclair Historic Preservation Commission meeting

Janice Talley and Ira Karasick at the October 16 Montclair Historic Preservation Commission meeting

The Montclair Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) met on October 16 in its first meeting this year without a consultant. Although there was no hint of when a successor for Peter Primavera might be named, the meeting, facilitated by Planning Director Janice Talley, proceeded smoothly after a stumble or two over approval of minutes.

The highlight of the evening was developer Steven Plofker’s appearance to discuss his plans for the old motor vehicle inspection station on the corner of Forest and Label Streets. Plofker, accompanies by architect Paul Sionas, was visibly excited about the project and was constantly moving back and forth between the renderings and plans, which Sionas had shown to the Planning Board at its August 25 meeting.

Sionas, for his part, reprised his Planning Board presentation for the benefit  of the commissioners. As he noted back in August, the sealed window openings facing Label Street would be opened up and feature windows with metal frames with both pairs of garage door openings converted into windows. Sionas also plans to incorporate the building’s metal trusses into the interior layout and include a second floor.

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Montclair Opens New Bike Depot at Bay Street Train Station

BY  |  Thursday, Oct 16, 2014 3:14pm  |  COMMENTS (6)

The late rock star Freddie Mercury once sang about how he wanted to ride his bicycle and ride it where he liked.  In Montclair, it’s now a lot easier to do that.

A Trek bicycle in one of the two-tired racks in the new Montclair Bike Depot at the Bay Street railway station.  There are spaces for 24 bicycles.

A Trek bicycle in one of the two-tired racks in the new Montclair Bike Depot at the Bay Street railway station. There are spaces for 24 bicycles.

Montclair opened a new bicycle depot at the Bay Street railway station on October 16.  The indoor facility, located at the immediate left of the entrance to the parking garage, has space for 24 bicycles and eighteen lockers for personal items.  Commuters can now leave their bicycles and belongings in a secure storage area, protected from the weather, before boarding the train.  The depot was made possible by grants from PSE&G, Partners For Health, and Sustainable Jersey, a certification program to help municipalities in New Jersey that seek to pursue environmentally friendly initiatives.  Pinnacle, the Montclair real estate development company, has also lent support, in keeping with its focus on sustainable projects.

Mayor Robert Jackson spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which also drew three members of the Montclair Township Council, outgoing Township Manager Marc Dashield, and several other local officials and activists.  The mayor spoke of how the bicycle depot was the latest in a series of tremendous innovations that were making Montclair a “cool town,” which he believed portended to building a stronger community in the time to come.

Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson speaks at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Bike Depot at the Bay Street train station, as outgoing Township Manager Marc Dashield listens.

Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson speaks at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Bike Depot at the Bay Street train station, as outgoing Township Manager Marc Dashield listens.

Speaking from her perspective as a physician, Fourth Ward Councilor Renée Baskerville said that the new depot, by encouraging more commuters to bike to work, would help cut down on obesity and promote a healthier living pattern.   But she also noted how it was a sign of greater investment for the  Fourth Ward, which includes the Bay Street train station,  and that it would also allow people from other areas who arrive by train to have access to the township’s various attractions.

The principal benefit of the depot is the enclosed design, which Cyndi Steiner, executive director of the New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition, says provides an advantage over the open-air bike racks at other NJ Transit stations, where bikes can be vandalized or even stolen, despite the best efforts of owners to secure them with locks.  The new depot at the Bay Street station has a 24/7 security camera, and members gain entry to the depot with an access card.

“Because commuters can now store a bike securely in the Bike Depot,” Steiner says, “a safer,  higher-quality bike can be ridden to the train station, providing alternative transportation options to commuters from a greater distance.  The Bike Depot will serve as a model for other NJ Transit train stations.”

Montclair Township Manager Marc Dashield applauds as Cyndi Steiner, executive director of the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, cuts the ribbon to open the new Montclair Bike Depot.

Montclair Township Manager Marc Dashield applauds as Cyndi Steiner, executive director of the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, cuts the ribbon to open the new Montclair Bike Depot.

Randy Solomon of Sustainable Jersey said he was “stoked” about the new depot.  Dressed in business attire and a bicycle helmet, he said he hoped that such a sight would become the norm, and that “the powers that be” could encourage people to believe that bicycle commuting would be accepted as a normal, everyday activity.  Essex County Freeholder Brendan Gill (D-5th District) said there was a “renaissance” happening in Montclair, as the township was embracing the sustainable development patterns of the future.  Gill also announced that he’s just joined the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition board.

“Now all I have to do is get a bike,” he joked.

Pinnacle’s Brian Stolar, who is also a New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition board member, said that this facility was just a first step in creating a series of transportation alternatives in Montclair, which include car sharing, bicycle sharing, and shuttles.  He also noted that the Bay Street  garage has a five-year waiting list for commuters to park their cars, underscoring the need for more transit opportunities.  He also credited the Michigan firm Duo-Gard for the depot’s design, as well as SwissTrax for the flooring and Saris for the two-tiered metal racks, demonstrating the complexity involved in building a seemingly simple facility.

Commuters who are interested in using the Bike Depot at the Bay Street station can learn more by going to http://www.njbwc.org/bikedepot/

 

Montclair Center Presents A Little Night Art XIV

BY  |  Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 12:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

A Little Night Art XIV

Pico Design Jewelry, Matisse prints, Diane Israel, and Claire Rosen

This Friday, October 17 Montclair Center presents its annual celebration of art and culture — A Little Night Art XIV.

The evening celebrating our vibrant visual arts community offers a self-guided art walk from 6 pm – 9 pm  among 23 venues around Montclair Center.  Gorgeous jewelry, photography fine art and more.

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Montclair PD Invites You to Have Coffee With a Cop

BY  |  Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (1)

Coffee With a CopIn an effort to foster positive relationships with the police, the Montclair Police Department has announced a new initiative called “Coffee With A Cop,” with its first event taking place this Friday, October 17 at Trend Coffee & Tea House (411 Bloomfield Ave) from 8 am – 10 am.

At “Coffee With A Cop” the public will get the opportunity to meet and speak with their local law enforcement professionals in an open and friendly atmosphere. The Montclair Police Department’s Community Service Unit (CSU) says the event is part of its goal “to form partnerships with all of Montclair, including our residents as well as our businesses. All too often, the community only interacts with the police in times of crisis.”

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Montclair Township Council Welcomes New Manager; Looks at CAC, Water Issues, Animal Shelter

BY  |  Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 7:30am  |  COMMENTS (5)

Tim StaffordThe Montclair Township Council oversaw a change of the guard by recognizing Tim Stafford as Acting Township Manager at its October 14 conference meeting, effective at 12:01 am , October 25.

Outgoing Township Manager Marc Dashield is taking accrued vacation time after his last day on the job this Friday (October 17),and a resolution was passed allowing Dashield to appoint him as personnel director and designate him as acting manager while on vacation. Township Attorney Ira Karasick read the resolution aloud for the council.

Stafford, who was present, told the council that he was looking forward to the challenges ahead, but he first had to overcome a challenge to his appointment be Fourth Ward Councilor Renée Baskerville, who noted that the township didn’t make an effort to advertise the position and bypassed affirmative action opportunities. She was also displeased that Montclair was choosing another non-resident (Stafford lives in Cedar Grove) as a manager and didn’t give Montclair residents a chance.  But Mayor Robert Jackson said that he was “delighted” with the appointment and was comfortable with the process in hiring him.

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Councilor Hurlock Addresses Parking, Planning, and Public Works At Community Meeting

BY  |  Friday, Oct 10, 2014 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (2)

Montclair First Ward Councilor William Hurlock at his October 9 community meeting

Montclair First Ward Councilor William Hurlock at his October 9 community meeting

Montclair First Ward Councilor William Hurlock held his eighth community meeting at the Bellevue Avenue branch of the Montclair Public Library on October 9 and discussed issues familiar to attendees of First Ward  community meetings — the master plan, parking and traffic concerns, PSE&G, and, in recognition of the coming of winter, snow removal. Among his special guests were Essex County Freeholder Brendan Gill (D-5th District), who is running for Freeholder at-Large, and Nutley resident John V. Kelly III, a Republican who is running against Democrat Cynthia Toro for Gill’s seat. Gill thanked Councilor Hurlock for his vigorous representation of the First Ward on the council, while Kelly briefly spoke about his campaign.  Kelly advocated the establishment of a county bank, which he said would allow Essex County residents to make interest on its money , generating a profit of nearly $1 billion and potentially saving county residents about 25 percent in annual taxes.

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Montclair Planning Board: Development Versus Historic Preservation?

BY  |  Thursday, Oct 09, 2014 6:00pm  |  COMMENTS (34)

There’s been more turnover at the Montclair Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) and it’s raising questions about the overall relationship of the HPC with the Planning Department, and whether a sense of historical continuity in Montclair will be maintained as the township undergoes the most ambitious redevelopment plans since the 1980s.  Following Peter Primavera’s recent dismissal as the HPC’s consultant after Planning Director Janice Talley cancelled his contract three months early, Montclair residents who have been involved with planning and with approvals of new construction projects are voicing concerns over what they view as the marginalization of the HPC’s role in redevelopment.

Montclair Planning Director Janice Talley

Montclair Planning Director Janice Talley

Primavera received his dismissal notice in an e-mail from Talley on September 29, which simply said his services were no longer needed.  Talley did not explain to Primavera her reason for the premature cancellation.  Talley would also not comment on any reason for the cancellation to Baristanet, because she cannot offer comment on personnel matters. Continue Reading

(Update) Montclair Animal Shelter Manager Resigns, Effective Immediately

BY  |  Wednesday, Oct 08, 2014 1:49pm  |  COMMENTS (5)

Montclair-Animal-ShelterUpdated with comments from township officials:

Melissa Neiss, the much-criticized director manager of the Montclair Township Animal Shelter, resigned this morning, effective immediately, multiple Montclair Township municipal officials have told Baristanet.

Baristanet reported that Neiss was on leave on October 4, however officials would not confirm complete details.

When asked for the reason behind Neiss’s resignation, Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson tells Baristanet: “I can’t comment on it other to say I thank her for her service to the township and i wish her well with the next part of her life.”

Jackson also spoke about positive and encouraging changes for its future.

“We are moving aggressively to make our animal shelter a state of the art facility,” he says, “both its structure and its operations.”

Veterinarian Nancy Katz, vice-chair of the Montclair Animal Welfare Advisory committee, is hopeful for positive change and she urges the Township Council to adopt the committee’s recommendations regarding a new shelter director.

“It’s very easy to look at a shelter like Montclair and see the chaotic state it is in right now and point out what’s wrong with it,” Katz tells Baristanet. “It is a completely different thing to be able to envision a detailed and comprehensive plan not just to fix it but to turn it into something great and we need someone who could do the latter.

“There is no person within the shelter or health department who fits what the animal welfare committee has envisioned as shelter director,” she continues.  “I think it’s great news because it gives us opportunity and opportunity is a great thing.”

‎Kay  Sherwood, chair of the animal advisory committee, says Neiss’s resignation is a first step toward making permanent improvements in Montclair’s animal control and sheltering services.

“We look forward to a different and better future for our town’s animals,” she says.

 

 

Featured Comment

De Camp and the councilman missed the bus on this one.

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