Montclair Art Museum Chief Curator Gail Stavitsky Honored With a 2015 John Cotton Dana Award

BY  |  Friday, May 22, 2015 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Montclair Art Museum

Gail Stavitsky, chief curator of the Montclair Art Museum (MAM), has been selected to receive the 2015 John Cotton Dana Award from the New Jersey Association of Museums.

Stavitsky is being honored for advancing the service of museums to the region, for demonstrating visionary and innovative leadership, and for epitomizing the highest standards of professional commitment as exemplified by museum pioneer John Cotton Dana (1856–1929). The award will be presented at the NJAM Annual Meeting at the beautiful Grounds for Sculpture on June 1.

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What Are Your Plans for Memorial Day Weekend?

BY  |  Thursday, May 21, 2015 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

montclair pool past 1

The unofficial start of summer happens this weekend and we want to know your plans.

What are you doing the Memorial Day weekend? Will you attend a service or parade? Take a dip in a local pool? Pack your bags and go on vacation? Show the Jersey Shore some love and hit a beach? Stay local and attend an event? Maybe you’ll throw, or attend a BBQ?

Take our poll and check all that apply:

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The Memorial Day Weekend: Parades, Music, Festivals, and More!

BY  |  Thursday, May 21, 2015 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

memorial day

It’s Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial start to summer. If you’re not going down the Shore or escaping for a mini-vacation, there are great ways to get out and have fun this long weekend.

We told you about:

Here are your weekend highlights:

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Montclair Resident Honored at Essex County Older Americans Heritage Month Celebration

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

Essex County Older Americans Heritage Month Celebration

DiVincenzo, Jr. (third from left) presents Essex County Legends Awards to (from left) Montclair resident C. Maxene Vaughters-Summey, Essex Fells resident Dr. Leon G. Smith and West Orange resident Beverly L. Oliphant during the Ninth Annual Essex County Older Americans Heritage Month Celebration on Monday, May 18th in the Essex County LeRoy F. Smith, Jr. Public Safety Building in Newark. May is recognized as National Older Americans Month. (Photo by Lloyd Holmes)

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. and the Essex County Division of Senior Services hosted the Ninth Annual Essex County

Older Americans Heritage Month Celebration on Monday, May 18, in honor of National Older Americans Month.

During the ceremony, DiVincenzo presented Essex County Legends Awards to the following Essex County senior citizens:

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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.”



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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Local Memorial Day Parades and Services 2015

BY  |  Monday, May 18, 2015 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

memorial day

Next Monday, May 25, remember the men and women who died while in military service. Attend a local Memorial Day parade and/or service:

Montclair Memorial Day Service
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson will be the keynote speaker. Mayor Robert Jackson will preside as Master of Ceremonies, the Reverend Dr. Paul Leggett of Grace Presbyterian Church will deliver the invocation, the blessing of the wreaths and the benediction, and Major William Horn, USAF, Retired, will deliver Memorial Day remarks.
Edgemont Park, Monday, May 25 at 10 am. (In the event of rain, service will be held in the Municipal Council Chambers at 205 Claremont Avenue)


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Weekend Highlights: Your Guide to Family Fun

BY  |  Friday, May 15, 2015 9:30am  |  COMMENTS (1)

It’s the weekend again and we’ve gathered up some fun and family friendly things in the area to help you spend your time.

Free SuperHero Workshop For KidsOn Saturday, S.O.F.I.A. (11 Pine Street, Montclair) will host the “I’m a Superhero” workshop from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM. This self-esteem building exercise will be facilitated by Gioya McRae and will allow children and their caregivers the opportunity to form a superhero team to write a story highlighting actual strengths and desired powers demonstrating how they will help others. Laugh and learn things together in this fun activity. This event is open to children ages 6-12 and their caregivers. To confirm attendance, send an email including the names of the child and the caregiver and the date of the workshop to


Discovery Center 004

The Reeves-Reed Arboretum (165 Hobart Avenue, Summit) hosts a drop in Discovery Saturday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM each Saturday. This week’s theme is Flower Adaptations. Families can borrow a backpack filled loaded with everything needed for an outdoor adventure. Discover nature through experiments, stories, games and crafts. The fee for this event is $5 per child and is free for members.


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Sponsored: Want Your Teen To Learn How To Find A Job, Go On Awesome Trips And Do Other Cool Stuff? You’re In Luck.

BY  |  Thursday, May 14, 2015 1:00pm

YMCA of Montclair

Have your teen “turn off” their electronic devices and “tune in” to fun by enrolling in summer camp at the YMCA of Montclair.

Voyagers (for ages 12-14): Your teen can spend the summer going to Broadway shows, riding on a speed boat, and an overnight trip to the Adventure Aquarium. Trips change weekly. Teens also make an impact in their local community and choose other weekly activities like drama, art, sports and cooking programs. Check out the trip list here.

YMCA of Montclair

Summer Quest (ages 14-15): Finding a first job can be exciting and scary all at once. Empower your teen to gain tools and skills to land that first job and have fun doing so. Activities include resume writing and practice interviewing. Teens can also earn Red Cross first aid and babysitting training certifications and go on fun field trips. During the last week of the session, they get to put their newly acquired skills and self confidence into action during a one week internship position at the Y.

What are you waiting for? Register your teen today!

For more info about Voyagers, Summer Quest and all YMCA of Montclair camps click here.

YMCA of Montclair



Featured Comment

Congratulations to the cast and crew for a job so very well done. Beyond the obvious talent, the students' dedication and professionalism was evident throughout. Bravo!

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