Montclair Pedestrian Safety Committee Shares 5 Action Items in Quarterly Report

BY  |  Wednesday, May 27, 2015 1:30pm  |  COMMENTS (3)

drive with care in montclairThe Montclair Pedestrian Safety Committee, with the help of the public and a strategic planning consultant, has adopted 5 action items to move forward with, which were presented to the Town Council on February 10.

One of the five actions is quarterly reporting on pedestrian accidents in Montclair, as well as an update on what the safety committee is doing to reduce these accidents. Committee member Alex Kent, who is also a coordinator at Drive with Care in Montclair and a community liaison for Montclair Health and Wellness Partnership, sharesthe committee’s the first Pedestrian Safety Committee quarterly report with below:

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Celebrating the 110th Anniversary of Anderson Park With a Tree Planting

BY  |  Tuesday, May 26, 2015 3:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Anderson Park

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.(center) joined the Friends of Anderson Park to celebrate the 110th anniversary of Anderson Park or a ceremonial tree planting on Sunday, May 17.

With DiVincenzo are (from left) Lisa Renner from the Friends of Anderson Park, Montclair Councilors William Hurlock and Robin Schlager, Mayor Robert Jackson, Scott Kevelson from the Friends of Anderson Park, Girl Scout Dana Oscar from Troop 22915, Eagle Scout John Macksoud and Boy Scout Spencer Uri from Troop 13, Deputy Mayor Bob Russo and Freeholder Vice President Brendan Gill.

(Photo by Glen Frieson)



Seen Around Town: Cooling Off at Essex Pool

BY  |  Tuesday, May 26, 2015 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (1)

essex pool

Yesterday’s warm, sunny temperatures had locals happy that area pools were open for the season. Even the ducks were looking to cool off. This duck took a quick dip at Montclair’s Essex pool. Thanks to Chanda Hall for the photo!

See any interesting and/or fun things around town? Send your photos here.



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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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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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.



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.”



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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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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Deer, Coyotes, and Bears, Oh My!

BY  |  Tuesday, May 19, 2015 9:49am  |  COMMENTS (3)

The famous Montclair Bear from 2013

The famous Montclair Bear from 2013

It’s been a couple of years since the Montclair Bear made headlines (He was a funny bear), but over the weekend some other bears were in the news. By now you’ve heard about the bear we tweeted about on Sunday in a Bloomfield cemetery:

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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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