UPDATED Montclair Residents Petition Police to “Aggressively Enforce Traffic Laws in Montclair”

BY  |  Friday, Jul 31, 2015 4:25pm  |  COMMENTS (53)

Photo posted with petition at Change.org

Photo posted with petition at Change.org

UPDATE: The incident residents, including Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson, observed and believed to be a cyclist struck by a vehicle was not an accident. Baristanet has learned after inquiries to Montclair Police, that a 19-year-old male from Montclair was injured after he fell off his bicycle on Bellevue Avenue on July 30. Both witnesses and the injured cyclist confirmed that the fall did not involve a motor vehicle according to Montclair Police.

Lt. David O’Dowd tells Baristanet that the cyclist had bags on his bike that got caught in the spokes, causing him to fall off his bike. He was taken to University Hospital in Newark due to his injuries. The report does not indicate whether the cyclist was wearing a helmet.

“Seeing the cyclist on the ground injured and bloody, it’s understandable that passersby would assume the incident to be an accident involving a car, but that wasn’t the case,” said O’Dowd.

Following reports of a young bicyclist struck by a vehicle injured near the corner of Grove and Bellevue last night, Montclair residents are petitioning Montclair Police Chief David Sabagh and the Montclair town council to aggressively enforce traffic laws in Montclair.

The petition, started by Elizabeth Ruebman, and posted on Change.org, already has comments from those who have signed, decrying dangerous conditions for pedestrians and bike riders.

Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson was aware of the accident, because he had been driving near the area when it happened. Jackson said the accident involved a young male on a bike who was attended to by Montclair Ambulance team members at the scene before being brought to the hospital. Jackson says the council is aware of the need to do more with regard to pedestrian and cyclist safety. “We are working on putting up more beacons and incorporating safety measures. We understand the issue and we understand the concern and we are trying to do more and will keep pressing on it.”

Jackson mentioned the need for speed enforcement and spoke of the Drive with Care program as another effort in place.

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Baristanet Profile: Therese Baird

BY  |  Friday, Jul 31, 2015 3:00pm

Therese Baird

The latest installment of our Baristanet Profile series, where we get to know the people in our neighborhood:

Name: Therese Baird

Where do you live? Cedar Grove, NJ

When did you move there? Almost 23 years ago.

Where did you grow up? Summit Avenue in Upper Montclair

How do you make a living? I am currently a real estate agent at Halstead Property in Montclair. Before that, I was the owner of Le Baker’s Dozen Bake Shoppe.

Coffee, tea or … ? Coffee… always. Unless I’m sick, then it’s tea!
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NCJW/Essex Back 2 School Store Lets Disadvantaged Children Shop for Free

BY  |  Friday, Jul 31, 2015 1:30pm

rp_JeffreyGurwin_Back_2_School2014-98-3.jpgThe National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Section (NCJW/Essex) will offer over 700 economically disadvantaged students from Newark and surrounding areas the opportunity to shop for free at the Back 2 School Store (B2SS) on Sunday, August 2. Since its inception in 2009, the B2SS has benefited nearly 3,000 children and utilized over 2,000 volunteers. This year, we anticipate serving 700 children with the aid of over 400 volunteers, including one-on-one personal shoppers. Each year, hundreds of children from kindergarten through fifth grade who have been identified by partner agencies are able to “shop” cost-free for an abundance of brand new school supplies, clothes, and personal care items in a department-store-type setting set up just for them.
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Joe Walsh Comes Home to Rock Montclair

BY  |  Friday, Jul 31, 2015 12:30pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

Joe Walsh

The halls of Montclair High School will truly be rocking this fall when one of MHS’s most renowned alum, legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Eagles’ guitarist, Joe Walsh, will visit Montclair for a two-day event on October 2–3.

To kick off the exciting weekend, in celebration of the high school’s 100th anniversary, Walsh will start his visit in town  with Montclair High School students and faculty during a school day assembly on Friday, October 2. The following evening, Saturday, October 3, Walsh and his band will give an intimate benefit concert at the Montclair High School auditorium. In addition to the high school celebrating 100 years, 2015 also marks 50 years since Walsh graduated from MHS.
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Launching The 2015 Montclair Jazz Festival: Bigger, Better and Big Plans For the Future

BY  |  Friday, Jul 31, 2015 10:50am

You’ve come a long way baby.

Montclair Jazz Festival, returning this year bigger and better, has grown every year along with the organization that started it all, Jazz House Kids. Both are here in Montclair, thanks to the vision of founder Montclair jazz vocalist and recording artist Melissa Walker, with creative direction from her husband, Christian McBride—a four-time GRAMMY Award-winning bassist, composer and arranger.

Photo: Neil Grabowsky

Rhonda and Bob Silver, presenting sponsors, join Christian McBride, Melissa Walker and S.Epatha Merkerson at launch party for the 2015 Montclair Jazz Festival. Photo: Neil Grabowsky

Jazz House Kids celebrated the official launch of the 2015 Montclair Jazz Festival with its first Sponsor/Artist/Media Mixer on Wednesday evening.

The event, a way to celebrate the generosity of sponsors who ensure the Montclair Jazz Festival remains a “No Tickets Required!” event, was held at Hillside Square, courtesy of The Bravitas Group/Silver Family Foundation, the Festival’s presenting sponsor.

Jazz House Kids students perform at launch party for 2015 Montclair Jazz Festival.

Jazz House Kids students perform at launch party for 2015 Montclair Jazz Festival.

Walker explained how Jazz House Kids started with humble beginnings. Inspired after mentoring youth at a WGBO event, she began working out of her kitchen to follow through on her vision to build a Jazz House.

“The reason it’s called Jazz House Kids, it’s about jazz, it’s about our future which is our kids, and it’s about a house that exists in the community. It’s also about creating global citizens and community leaders,” says Jazz House Kids founder Melissa Walker. “When you step into this year’s festival, you will see 150 students on stage with some of the greatest acts.”

Those acts include this year’s headliners — dynamic vocalist José James, the Paquito D’Rivera Quintet, and the Christian McBride Big Band featuring Melissa Walker. The world-class artists perform on the same stage with more than 150 multi-generational performers including festival favorites Radam Schwartz Organized, the Jazz House Faculty Collective directed by Ed Palermo, and Jazz House Kids award-winning student ensembles and vocal groups. S.Epatha Merkerson returns as mistress of ceremonies.

And when you are enjoying incredible live jazz – no tickets required – on Saturday, August 15, you can also imagine the future. “This festival will be a three-day weekend festival as soon as this hotel can get up,” says Walker, mentioning the hotel coming to Montclair from The Hampshire Companies, one of the festival’s sponsors. Next year, the Festival will remain at Nishuane Park, but its footprint will grow to incorporate more of the Montclair Center area. Continue Reading

Daytripping: The (New) Whitney Museum

BY  |  Friday, Jul 31, 2015 10:30am

The Whitney Museum, in one form or another, has occupied spaces all over Manhattan for more than 100 years. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, an established sculptor and art collector, opened the Whitney Studio in Greenwich Village in 1914. With the help of her assistant, Juliana Force, Whitney collected close to 500 works that she offered to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1929. The offer was declined. Undeterred, Whitney started her own museum exclusively for American Art. In 1931 she bought row houses next to her Studio Club and converted that into a living space and museum. Fast forward to 1954 when the museum moved to a new space on 54th Street behind the Museum of Modern Art. In 1966 the Whitney relocated uptown to the southeast corner of 75th Street and Madison Ave., a modern space designed by Marcel Breuer and Hamilton P. Smith. That spaced closed in the fall of last year in preparation for the upgrade to 99 Gansevoort Street between 12th and 13th Streets. For more on the history of the Whitney and to see a sultry portrait of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney lounging on a divan, check out the first floor gallery at the museum.

View from Gansevoort Street. Photographed by Ed Lederman, 2015.

View from Gansevoort Street. Photographed by Ed Lederman, 2015.

The new Whitney, which opened May 1 in the Meatpacking District just north of the West Village, has twice as much exhibit space compared to the old museum and is in stark contrast to the old space’s monolithic inverted pyramid, which is being leased to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Once you arrive, you’ll see that light and space are in ample amounts. Exhibit spaces have ceiling-high windows and gray pine floors. Visitors can take a break by stepping out onto outdoor galleries on the 5th, 6th, and 7th floors for fantastic views of the Hudson, the High Line and Empire State Building. Continue Reading

Weekend Highlights: Your Guide to Family Fun

BY  |  Friday, Jul 31, 2015 9:30am

Welcome to the weekend! We’ve rounded up a bunch of fun and family friendly things to do in our area. Check ‘em out!

paper mill playhouse

Paper Mill Playhouse (22 Brookside Drive, Millburn) presents New Voices of 2015: Hooray for Hollywood. 122 of the regions’ most talented young performers from the Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory will perform an original concert. Conservatory members range in age from 10 to 18 years old. Local Conservatory members include Cole Canzano, Stephen Hoebee-Elardo, and Katie Shults from Glen Ridge and Bobby Axelrod, Ella Fine, Sam Groisser, and Amanda Harris of Montclair. Tickets range from $25 to $45 and are available by calling 973-376-4343 or by visiting www.papermill.org. Show times are Friday at 7:30 PM and Saturday at 1:30 PM and 7:30 PM.

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Pedestrian Safety Update: Incidents Down Slightly; New Crossing Light Installed by Walnut Street

BY  |  Friday, Jul 31, 2015 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (1)

drive with care

Dangerous intersections and drivers who don’t stop for pedestrians in crosswalks are among the continuing pedestrian safety concerns in Montclair and a focus of the Pedestrian Safety Committee.

So far this year, pedestrian-auto incidents for the first six months of 2015 totaled 17, compared to 20 for the same period in 2014, reports Sergeant Stephanie Egnezzo of the Montclair Police Department’s (MPD) Traffic Department.

For May and June, 2015 there were five pedestrian/vehicle accidents. Police determined two were the pedestrian’s fault. Three of those accidents took place on Bloomfield Avenue. The other two occurred by the intersection of Grove Street and Glenridge Avenue, according to the Pedestrian Safety Committee. The majority of the crashes take place in daylight, in good weather, at intersections, and do not involve alcohol.

“To help ensure their safety, pedestrians should cross only in crosswalks or at a corner and stay off their phones when crossing the street,” said Alex Kent, chair of the Pedestrian Safety Committee and a coordinator at Drive with Care in Montclair. “Drivers should obey the speed limit, stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, and avoid using their cell phone while driving.”

More Pedestrian Safety Initiatives in the Works

Besides educating drivers and pedestrians, other safety measures are being implemented. Last month the township installed a flashing pedestrian crossing light at the corner of Grove/Oxford (near Walnut Street). People who want to cross press a button and lights on both sides of the street flash, similar to the light that operates on the corner of Bloomfield and Midland Avenues. Fourth Ward Councilor, Renee Baskerville, M.D., collaborated with Kim Craft, township engineer to get the light at Grove and Oxford installed.

Flashing lights deterred some drivers, but not all, when Baristanet tested out the crosswalk.

Flashing lights deterred most drivers from passing through, but not all, when Baristanet tested out the crosswalk.

At the request of the Pedestrian Safety Committee, the MPD is also evaluating whether more intersections should be “no right on red.” The department has surveyed all the intersections and is determining which intersections to flag “no right on red” based on pedestrian and vehicle traffic. That report is expected to be completed in September. Once the report is reviewed, MPD can draft new ordinances and submit them to the Town Council.

The Pedestrian Safety Committee added a public safety line item to the township budget, which is pending approval. Those funds will pay for engineering studies to evaluate reducing some speed limits around town, as well as implementing a pedestrian phase light at Valley Road and Bellevue Avenue in Upper Montclair. This light will have a third phase, where only pedestrians are allowed to cross in both directions; all traffic will be stopped. This scenario takes away the danger of turning cars. The Pedestrian Safety Committee will provide an update on these initiatives when more information becomes available.

A Seat in the House Shows Love for Montclair’s Outpost in the Burbs" href="https://baristanet.com/2015/07/a-seat-in-the-house-shows-love-for-montclairs-outpost-in-the-burbs/" rel="bookmark">A Seat in the House Shows Love for Montclair’s Outpost in the Burbs

BY  |  Thursday, Jul 30, 2015 2:00pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

A Seat in the House

Jay Lustig—Editor of NJArts.net—and Erika Bleiberg—former daily editor of Baristanet, arts publicist, and content marketing producer—are experimenting with a new multi-media series for NJArts.net called A Seat in the House. The series consists of short videos that include exclusive artist interviews and concert footage focused on conveying the experience of watching a performance at arts venues across the state.

First showcased in the series is Montclair’s Outpost in the Burbs, a non-profit outreach organization that builds community through music, community service, and cultural programs. Joan Osborne’s performance in February (her third for Outpost) was featured in A Seat in the House‘s inaugural video.
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Screen Wars: How Do You Handle Screen Time?

BY  |  Thursday, Jul 30, 2015 1:00pm

kid-computers

My two-year-old is ob-sessed with Angellina Ballerina. And recently, Peppa Pig has been nudging her way onto our dinner table. My daughter wakes up asking to watch her shows and repeats this request throughout the day. I’m not proud of it, but she does watch too much TV.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Today’s children are spending an average of seven hours a day on entertainment media, including televisions, computers, phones and other electronic devices.” The perils of screen indulgence for youngsters include increased isolation, attention problems, decreased sleep and even forgotten meals. The Learning Habit study published last September in the American Journal of Family Therapy also found that children’s grades started to steadily decline after 30 minutes of screen time a day and that their ability to stick with a difficult task and not give up – otherwise known as grit – decreased as electronic media usage went up.

New York Times writer Jane E. Brody recently penned two pieces (this one and this one)  about the growing issue around kids and their screen addictions. “Parents are often at fault, directly or indirectly, when children and teenagers become hooked on electronic media, playing video games or sending texts many hours a day instead of interacting with the real world and the people in it,” Brody says in her second article. The good news, though, is that the problem can be fixed. I reached out to Dr. Garcia, a clinical psychologist at Evolve Psychological Services in Montclair, for some screen time slashing strategies.

Set Time Limits

Determine the amount of time you’ll allow your kids to use their devices. It’s not reasonable to expect your children to go from overindulging to cutting it out completely, says Dr. Garcia. One Montclair mom gives her kids a total of one hour a day which they usually split into two halves. “The problem is that my kids spend the time that they’re not on their screens asking me if they can play their video games.”

Another local mom has taken a more extreme approach. “I couldn’t take the fighting anymore or the non-stop playing of video games.” She hid the controllers where she knew her kids would never look.

Restrict the Time of Day

Decide on the time of day that your kids can and cannot be glued to their screens. This might look different during the summer months versus the school year, but simply having this guideline in place will make it easier to enforce when school is in session, says Dr. Garcia.

Dr. Garcia suggests getting your kids outside as much as possible, especially in the summer months. Go to the pool, visit the playground and do stuff that you can’t during the winter. She adds, “Kids will be less inclined to want screen time if they are doing something else.” At my house, this means that my husband takes my little one outside to play after dinner, before she even gets a chance to ask for the iPad.

Set Screen-Free Zones

Identify places where your kids are not allowed to use their devices. “This can range from the dinner table to grandma’s house and even during a play date,” says Dr. Garcia. To set an example, parents need to abide by this rule as well. Although it will probably be a tough wean for all of us, I think my husband and I will soon be excusing Peppa Pig from our kitchen table and leaving our phones in another room during meal times.

Use the Screen as a Reward

Some families grant screen time as a reward. For example, your children must complete their chores before turning on their screens or it’s used as a treat for doing something nice for their sibling, says Dr. Garcia. Screen time has to be earned.

One local family rewards their kids for practicing piano. “If they get 20 minutes of practice in, I’m ok with 10-15 minutes of screen time,” says this Montclair mom. “My kids also love watching the other’s turn. So, if I give them each 15 minutes, by then end, they feel like they’ve had 30.”

Dr. Garcia urges parents to remember that the right amount of screen time for your child is all about balance, and that balance will vary for different kids and different families. She adds, “There are so many variables, including a family’s culture, where they live, how they spend time together and the age and developmental level of the child.” If you aren’t sure where to start with setting screen time expectations, a therapist or pediatrician can provide general guidelines.

Photo: zeitfaenger.at (Flickr)

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And we can get this project completed in time for Montclair's sesquicentennial when we can stick a fork into historic preservation as a public policy.

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