Montclair To Vote On Mandatory Sick Leave Ordinance

BY  |  Friday, Oct 24, 2014 2:30pm  |  COMMENTS (6)

mandatory sick leave ordinnce

In November Montclair will join Trenton to vote on a ballot question to adopt an ordinance which would require Montclair private-sector employers to allow their employees who work in the Township to accrue paid sick leave. In August, the Township Council  had the opportunity to enact the ordinance without it going to the ballot, but elected to leave the decision to the voters after receiving a petition with 1,106 signatures in favor.

Freeholder Brendan Gill, Deputy Mayor Robert Russo, and 3rd Ward Councilman Sean Spiller have been vocal supporters of the ordinance. On the other side of the debate, Upper Montclair Business Association President Diane Esty has questioned the impact on small business owners and how it could be enforced by the township.

The ballot question and explanation reads as follows:

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These Are the People in the Pine Street Neighborhood

BY  |  Friday, Oct 24, 2014 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)

POPs: Portraits on Pine Street

Aristotle is quoted as saying, “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” The POPS: Portraits on Pine Street project shows the inward significance of  the people of the community of Montclair. Looking at the faces, each person’s story is revealed. The strength in the mother’s eyes. The wisdom in the father’s stare. The joy in the young child’s smile. These are our neighbors. These are Montclair residents.

Mary Z, owner of 73 See Gallery, has big ambitions. Her Pine Street art gallery has turned into more than a space for local artists. It’s like a community center for the area families. She conceived of the idea of the POPs: Portraits on Pine Street as a community art project to help celebrate, recognize and unify our neighbors both within our neighborhood and our larger community. She asked neighborhood artist Seth Ruggles Hiler to paint the portraits of residents. They planned to do 100 and created a Kickstarter for the funds, but the campaign fell short. When Baristanet learned of the project, we made a donation to help.

“Our community has very few businesses and raising funds for our community projects and events is difficult at best. We held a kickstarter campaign to try and fund POPs in the way we envisioned and fell short. Baristanet really came to the rescue enabling us to fulfill this most critical piece of the project – printing high quality archival reproductions of each of the portraits to give to each of our sitters both to honor them and to commemorate their involvement.” says Mary Z.

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John Herrmann Named New Montclair Fire Department Chief

BY  |  Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 2:30pm  |  COMMENTS (2)

Montclair Fire Department Outgoing Township Manager Marc Dashield appointed Deputy Fire Chief John Herrmann as Montclair’s new Fire Chief. Hermann, who has served the department for 33 years, will be sworn in to the position later this month.

“After an extensive review of several candidates for the position, Deputy Chief Hermann stood out as someone with outstanding leadership abilities and I am certain Montclair will be well-served with John at the helm,” said Township Manager Dashield.”

“This is truly an honor,” says Herrmann. “Montclair has always taken pride in the work of its Fire Department and I will do my utmost to continue moving the department forward with even greater outreach and superior service to the communities we serve.”

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

BY  |  Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (7)

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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DeCamp Will Not Attend DeCamp Community Meeting (Updated)

BY  |  Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (18)

UPDATE: According to Lee Brigham, director of public relations for DeCamp, Councilor Nick Joanow and others have known for two weeks that DeCamp could not attend the meeting, but insisted on having it anyway.

“We told him we would be happy to have a followup meeting when we were ready to announce something. We are not ready. He knew this all along, but sent out information to the public making it sound like we were going to be there,” says Brigham.

“We will schedule our own meeting when we are ready and facilitate our own meeting when we have things to announce. We never said exactly when it should be and don’t want to be told by a councilman when a meeting should be,” says Brigham, adding that DeCamp continues to talk to riders and that a rider committee was set up since the last meeting occurred.

“We have others things in the works but we are not ready to be announce them yet,” says Brigham. She adds that when DeCamp notified Joanow that they would be unable to attend, they thought the meeting would have been cancelled.

We asked Brigham if she thought DeCamp was a political football. “You said that. Not me. Of course, there is an election in two weeks.”

We told you about a follow-up meeting to the May DeCamp community forum that drew a crowd of unhappy DeCampers voicing their frustrations at representatives from the bus company. Now, no one from DeCamp has accepted repeated invitations to appear at the follow-up meeting this Wednesday.

DeCamp Bus Lines Vice President Jonathan DeCamp (right) and DeCamp Comptroller Erwin Pantel (center) were at the last meeting, but no one fron DeCamp has said they would return.

DeCamp Bus Lines Vice President Jonathan DeCamp (right) and DeCamp Comptroller Erwin Pantel (center) were at the last meeting, but no one fron DeCamp has said they would return.

Gregory Babula, speaking for Councilor Nick Joanow, confirms, sending this email: Continue Reading

DeCamp Public Forum Returns This Wednesday

Monday, Oct 20, 2014 7:12am  |  COMMENTS (2)

Decamp Public Forum: The SequelBloomfield 2nd Ward Councilman Nick Joanow will host a follow-up public forum on the topic of DeCamp Bus Lines’ service to Bloomfield and surrounding communities this Wednesday, October 22, at 7:30 p.m. at Watching Presbyterian Church.

Back in May, bus riders slammed DeCamp with complaints at the first public forum. One of the outcomes was the promise of a follow-up meeting in six months so that DeCamp’s customers could hear updates to the suggestions and comments that were expressed.

State Senator Ronald Rice as well as Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia will be in attendance again, as will representatives from the office of Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (who is unable to attend due to a schedule conflict). Representatives from DeCamp Bus Lines have also been invited to attend to share with the public the progress they have made on addressing riders’ concerns. Continue Reading

Montclair’s Community Service Unit Hosts First “Coffee with a Cop” Event

BY  |  Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 8:44am  |  COMMENTS (0)

MPD CSULast Friday morning, from 8 a.m. until just past 10 a.m., the Montclair Police Department’s Community Service Unit (CSU) chatted with residents outside Trend Coffee House in the first “Coffee with a Cop” event. All four of the CSU officers were present, as well as Sergeant Tyrone Williams, who commands the CSU. The beautiful weather encouraged locals to peruse the literature available as well as ask questions about pedestrian safety, recent crime reports, firearm safety, traffic policy, and other community concerns.

Officer Cook, the CSU liaison officer assigned to the Second Ward, said that the Montclair PD hopes to hold these casual and community focused events once a month in different areas of Montclair. The goal is to widen the avenues of communication between Montclair residents and the officers charged with protecting and serving the community. Officer Allen, the Fourth Ward CSU liaison, shared that she and other officers who both live and work in Montclair feel a great connection to the community and its residents.MPD CSU School's Open Continue Reading

Getting Around Montclair: Lifelong Commuting Guide For Seniors

BY  |  Friday, Oct 17, 2014 3:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

 

Lifelong Commuting Guide For Seniors

The New Jersey Travel Independence Program at the Rutgers Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy has developed the Lifelong Montclair Guide to Public Transportation to help Montclair’s senior citizens understand available transportation resources.

The helpful guide explains the benefits of using public transportation, tips for seniors who still drive, and has all transportation resource information available in on place.

 

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/

 

Featured Comment

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

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