Looking Back Locally at 2019: The Year In Review

Here’s a look back at the biggest local stories of 2019 brought to you by Baristanet:

These stories are just SOME of the news items we covered in 2019. What other local stories of the year would you have included?

January

Montclair’s Mikie Sherrill Joins 116th Congress As NJ’s 11th District Representative; Highgate Hall LLC. — a team comprised of Luke Parker Bowles, Steven Plofker, Larry Slous, Patrick Wilson, Vincenzo Onorati and Andy Childs — enter negotiations with the landlord of The Bellevue Theatre to revive it; Montclair mourns the loss of Montclair native and longtime community activist, Alvin Lewis Smith III; Jury Supports Appellate Court Ruling in Bloomfield’s Favor on Lackawanna Train Station Property Value; The Montclair Planning Board inched closer to resolving the controversial Lackawanna Plaza supermarket application; Montclair School District enrollment reveals decrease of Black students; Montclair Planning Board discusses Hahne’s Parking Lot Development.

February

Senator Cory Booker announces run for president; Another Montclair Historic home disappears with demolition at 14 Undercliff Road; Montclair Planning Board approves Lackawanna Application for a Lidl Supermarket; Fourth Ward Councilwoman Dr. Renee Baskerville will host a town hall meeting to discuss the pros and cons of legalizing recreational marijuana use and sales in the Township and the state; Montclair Planning Board reviews and makes recommendation for amending Hahne’s Parking Lot Redevelopment Ordinance.

March

Montclair Planning Board reviews a proposed mansion on the combined property of 14 Undercliff Road and 172 Lloyd Road; Le Souk offers a new dining experience in Watchung Plaza; Community and Planning Board continue to have concerns about Lackawanna Plaza Redevelopment; Hundreds of Montclair High School students walked out of class joining students around the world participating in Fridays for Future; Township Clerk Linda Wanat retires from her position after more than 30 years as Montclair’s clerk; Melih Abdulhayoglu, CEO and founder of the Clifton-based Comodo companies, is named as the Montclair resident with the controversial mega mansion proposal; Bloomfield Mayor takes stand with support for marijuana legalization; New Jersey’s 55th governor Chris Christie was presented with the 2nd Amendment Award at the Lincoln Day Dinner held jointly between Montclair Republicans and the Essex County NJ Republican Women.

April

Essex County Prosecutor’s Office one-day gun buyback took out of circulation 332 guns, ranging from assault weapons to pistols; The Montclair Board of School Estimate (BoSE) adopted the $132 million budget for the school districts 2019-20 year and also approved the corresponding $118.2 million tax levy for it; Lackawanna Resolution gets delayed again; Clifton dentist sparks outrage with ‘Sexy Bunny’ Mannequin Easter display; The controversial proposed mega-mansion at 14 Undercliff Road and 172 Lloyd Road was withdrawn; Community mourns Vincent Tango, lifelong Montclair resident.

May

Montclair Art Museum debuts plans for a new plaza with a water wall and reflecting pool; The Montclair Planning Board approves resolution for the Lackawanna Plaza redevelopment; Issues arise with Montclair Board of Education; Montclair residents honored Terry Demming with a bench dedicated to him near the Glenfield Park baseball field; Filming for Sopranos prequel – “The Many Saints of Newark” begins at Holsten’s; 73 See Gallery on Pine Street closes.

June

Residents file complaint, demanding appeal of Montclair Planning Board’s Lackawanna Plaza approval; Nauna’s Bella Casa, which opened in Montclair since 1986, closes; Faubourg, a modern French brasserie, opens; Oscar Suarez and Magdalena Devil, Montclair residents, are reported missing in Barbados; APEM Creamery opens in Bloomfield; Montclair Center BID announces a search for a new executive director; Councilor Baskerville blindsided as Montclair Council votes McMahon For Deputy Mayor.

July

Cafe Moso, a new bistro in Montclair’s South End, opens; Authorities in Barbados called off a search Sunday evening for a missing Montclair couple; Dr. Kendra Johnson resigns as Superintendent of Montclair Schools for a position in Maryland; The community mourns the passing of Gretchen Godwin, YMCA of Montclair’s Director of Marketing; Montclair Zoning Board rules in favor of 46 Units on Orange Road; Bloomfield’s Watsessing Park gets new All Access Playground & Community Center; Luisa Bakery & Cafe opens on Walnut Street.

August

Montclair Center BID received a Transformation Grant for the commission and installation of several murals within the district; Essex County Freeholder President Brendan Gill receives 2019 Freeholder of the Year Award; Montclair Center BID names Jason Gleason as Acting Director; Montclair Board of Education hires Dr. Nathan Parker, as interim superintendent for Montclair Public Schools; The MC Hotel opens; Montclair High School students complete an anti-gun violence mural under the Chestnut Street overpass.

September

The community mourns the loss of beloved author Dorothea Benton Frank; Senator Bob Menendez comes to Montclair to talk gun control; The New York Post joins a long list of NYC publications lauding Montclair as the place to move when you are ready to leave the city; Little Bear Poké closes; Montclair Planning Board member calls foul on MC Residences’ 46 units; Montclair Art Museum Director Lora Urbanelli announces she will retire in Summer 2020, after more than 11 years of leadership; Hundreds of Montclair High School students walk out, demanding action for climate change.

October

Montclair’s new developer: Bijou Properties purchases 65 Church Street for Mixed-Use residential development; Longtime Montclair Veterinarian Dr. George L. Cameron retires after 49 years; The Bellevue takes one step closer to opening by launching thebellevuemontclair.com; Bloomfield’s Town-Wide Clean Up event was a huge success; Montclair Child Development Center celebrates 50 years.

November

Citing a long delay, Bike&Walk Montclair urges Montclair Council to adopt the Montclair SAFE Plan; Montclair Diner serves Whoopi Goldberg’s birthday meal on The View; Glen Ridge Police euthanize a red fox that bit three people; Montclair Center BID’s ArtConnects 2019 Montclair mural project is underway; Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill came to Montclair to honor Gus Makris Day, celebrating the Makris family’s 20 years of service at the Montclair Diner; The Office Beer Bar & Grill closes after decades in Montclair; Montclair High School goes on lockdown because of a report of a gun brought into school.

December

Julia Louis-Dreyfus talked to Stephen Colbert at the annual Montclair Film fundraiser; Montclair Theatre Project, a new non-profit theatre organization dedicated to the production and presentation of classic and contemporary dramas, musicals and other performing arts, opens; AGORA by Stamna, a Greek cafe and market, opens in Bloomfield; Montclair Police investigated hate vandalism found at Montclair High School; Montclair rolls a step closer to getting a skatepark; Montclair residents speak out against Historic Designation for Wheeler Street Neighborhood; Vesta Chocolate, a bean to bar chocolate boutique, hosts a pre-opening Pop Up shop; Essex County jury convicts the serial killer on three counts of murder in connection with the deaths of three young women he killed between August and November 2016 and the kidnapping, sexual assault, and attempted murder of a fourth woman.