We’re OK

Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 2:34pm  |  COMMENTS (2)

It can be hard to accept Annette’s word for it, amid declarations of a public health emergency, the first reported swine flu-related death in the US, and five probable cases in New Jersey.
However, a call to Mountainside Hospital’s Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations Natalie Thigpen assured us that so far, all’s well in Baristaville. Mountainside’s emergency preparedness team has been meeting daily since the outbreak began to review emergency procedures and coordinate with major actors within the hospital. The hospital has also been a part of New Jersey’s Initiative on Pandemic Flu Planning for two years, so the staff is already familiar with this sort of emergency framework.
Likewise, local drugstores report that all is calm – “not much panicking yet,” says Larry of Grove Pharmacy. “There have been a couple of requests for Tamiflu, but not the expected rush.” Keil’s Pharmacy likewise reported relative calm, but noted an increase in purchases of surgical masks and hand sanitizers.

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Playground Drama: What Would You Do?

Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 1:45pm  |  COMMENTS (7)

prek park.jpgI am not overly protective of my kids, especially at the playground. I let them get scraped up. I do not follow them closely saying, “Oh, you’ll get hurt if you climb up the slide backward.” I let them figure it out. When a 10-year-old comes barreling down the slide, believe me, my kids figure it out.

I let the children try the equipment–even the monkey bars–when they’re comfortable trying it. I don’t push them, and I don’t hold them back. One of my daughters, Estelle, is athletic, confident and fearless. She was playing with 5-year-old boys in the park when she was 2. Some kids are like that.

But this weekend, a parent at the playground crossed the safety line. My husband took the kids to the Montclair Community Pre-K park on Sunday after church. There is a wonderful climbing tree there. But should our 3-year-old Estelle be climbing it?

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Yes, I Went To Mexico Last Week

Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 1:30pm  |  COMMENTS (22)

tourists.jpg My tan is the tipoff. When I admit I was in Mexico last week, the horrified reactions border on hysterical. At my pediatrician’s office, we encountered polite panic as the nurse instinctively recoiled in horror; at the orthodontist’s, office assistants let out a terrified gasp that sucked all the air out of the room. At my husband’s Monday morning office meeting, a colleague showed up with a surgical mask, and, as if punished in a “time out,” Anthony sat alone at the end of the table. My three kids have gotten a lot of flack at school too, as SWINE has taken over everyone’s psyche. “Do you have it? Yes, you have it, don’t you” – teasing, joking, finger pointing – maybe in jest – but laced in fear? Two of Genna’s friends wouldn’t sit next to her on the bus.
Hey, the headline is: We’re OK. (We were at the doctor’s for something unrelated.) Nobody came down with anything, not even the dreaded Montezuma’s Revenge. We’re addicted to Mexico more than ever. What’s different about this year’s trip is we got grief coming and going. Before SWINE, it was “holy guacamole, you’re still going, despite all that drug-infused violence and people getting shot left and right?”
The first I learned about the Mexican swine flu outbreak was on the tarmac upon landing at Newark Liberty Airport last Saturday.

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Obama’s First 100

Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 12:03pm  |  COMMENTS (77)

Between Sudanese pirates, swine flu outbreaks, stock market woes, flyaway photo ops and oh, those Middle Eastern wars, it’s good to know President Obama can find some time here and there to re-arrange his furniture – with a little help from his friends, of course. (That’s Vermont Governor Jim Douglas in the Oval Office, in between discussions about the economic recovery plan.)
Barista Kids talked to little and big kids to see how they felt about this historic day. Preschoolers and kindergartners thought he should whoop it up and party. Older kids say they’re inspired and moved.
What say you, BaristaAdults? How do you feel about Obama’s First 100? Are you whooping, or hollering?
(Photo from White House photostream on Flickr.)

Want a Private Audience with Darryl Strawberry?

Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 10:31am  |  COMMENTS (18)

Darryl Strawberry’s personal story sounds like the stuff of novels, or perhaps the plotline from an early ’80s After-School Special: Drafted by the New York Mets in 1980 at the age of 18, he was a homerun-hitting superstar by 21. Then came the improbable 1986 World Series victory, enormous fame, even a Darryl Strawberry action figure. But drugs and drama got in the way, and by 1995 he was suspended from the MLB. After legal trouble of various kinds, Straw made a comeback (in a Yankee uniform, this time) and then cancer struck. Finally, after treatment, one more brief comeback.
It’s a hell of a story, one he first put into print in 1992. This week, he’s got a new book hitting store shelves, and he’s going to be signing copies at the Yogi Berra Museum on Thursday night.
The Museum is offering a copy of the book and a few minutes of private conversation with Straw to one lucky Baristanet reader. Think you know your Darryl Strawberry trivia? If you’d like to win this giveaway, be the first to email us the answer to this question:
Who were Darryl Strawberry’s managers with the Mets, Dodgers, Giants and Yankees?
UPDATE: Congratulations to Karen C!

Two Workshops for Foster & Adoptive Parents

Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 9:30am

alison adoptive family.jpgMontclair mom Alison Ganci, left, emailed me to let me know about a workshop Thursday night for adoptive parents, see info on the jump page. It’s specifically geared toward raising a multicultural kid in a multicultural family. The Spence-Chapin nonprofit adoption agency is sponsoring the event.
My very unscientific observation is that we have a lot of adoptive families in our area, and Alison agrees. She has two children ages 6 and 3.5. Their family incorporates the culture of their children’s origins into their everyday lives.
“This is a great place to be an adoptive family,” Alison adds. “It is a fairly common way to create a family here, so we get fewer inquisitive, confused looks. This is a very supportive town.”
My friend, Ellen Kahaner, is also an adoptive parent. She recently wrote about her experiences in the Maplewood/South Orange melting pot.
If you’re also part of the community and seeking parenting tips, catch Thursday’s workshop. There is another adoptive/foster parent meeting tonight for people interested in adopting and fostering. I have always wanted to be a foster parent, and I just may do it one day…

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Springtime in Baristaville

Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 9:23am

The sun is shining, the tulips are twinkling, the real estate is…greening? Head over to Real Estate for the latest in realty news.

Montclair’s Green Real Estate Bloom

Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 9:22am

Center map

Academy1.jpgFast on the heels of GreenWorks on Grove, Montclair’s first green office complex has just entered the market and is pending Silver-level LEED certification. Academy Square is a renovation of the former Katherine Gibbs School site, and the name is a nod to its century-long scholastic function.
The structure was originally built in 1877 as a single family home; it was sold at the turn of the last century to Mary Kimberly Waring to become the Kimberly School for Girls. In 1949, the Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School took over the building, and remained there until it was sold to local realtor Jay Schweppe in 2004. After debating the future of the development, Schweppe brought in Robert Silver as a partner, along with six other developers, and construction began in February 2009. Although the group considered tearing down the structure and building townhouses, they decided to keep the “beautiful bones” of the former school intact. As for the decision to make it green: “Well, it’s an investment. And it’s the right thing to do,” says Silver.

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Obama’s 100 Days: What Do Teens & Moms Think?

Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 7:30am

Lisa Prince 4.jpgShortly after I turned 18, I was able to vote for our 42nd president, William Jefferson Bill Clinton. At the time, the nation was excited. We were out with George H. W. Bush and his Gulf War policies. We were in with a new Democratic future.
Obama’s first 100 days have a similar feel–only this time the issues seem more important and historic and intense.
Today’s high school kids feel connected to politics just like I did. See the Shorter kids who attended the inauguration in the photo. From left are Austin, 10, Julian, 5, and Jasper, 12. They went to the inauguration, and -their mom, Lisa Prince, blogged for us about the trip.
Keep reading for kids’ current thoughts on this historic presidency. And check out yesterday’s article where little kids give their advice on how Obama should celebrate.

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This Week’s Highlights: April 29 – May 5

Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 7:00am

Where did April go? Friday will be May 1st and May in Montclair is a celebration. There will be great events in town all month, so check our Upcoming Events often. Here are this week’s highlights:   

Learn About Fostering or Adopting a Child
The Montclair Pre-K is holding a discussion and information workshop on the benefits of fostering or adopting a child.
Discussion on adopting transracial and transcultural children at The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Montclair.
Dance The May Pole
Celebrate May in Montclair at the opening ceremony.
Take in Some Art in The Park
Attend Montclair Co-op’s 40th annual arts & crafts fair.
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
Take a Spanish storytime and sing-along class at The Language Workshop.
Join the fiesta at The Montclair Public Library.

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I'm struck by how much attention is being paid to the details of a parking lot, as opposed to the attention paid to the future impact of the monstrous projects being planned.

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