Tempers Flare Over NJ Transit Summer Train Schedule

BY  |  Thursday, May 25, 2017 11:00am  |  COMMENTS (3)

Everyone is angry and bitter about the announced summer reroutings to Hoboken for NJ Transit’s Morris & Essex trains—even the announcements about the reroutings.

The official news release from NJ Transit about the planned six-week shuffling of all M&E trains scheduled for Penn Station begins on a pissy note: “NJ Transit rail customers have been forced to deal with delays, derailments and unreliable service because Amtrak, which owns the tracks our service relies upon, has neglected the maintenance of its critical infrastructure for years.”

The announcement goes on to say, “Long overdue Amtrak track repair work will significantly disrupt travel this summer for customers who normally travel on the Morris & Essex Midtown Direct service to and from Penn Station New York.” (All Midtown Direct trains on the Montclair-Boonton Line will operate on regular weekday schedules with minor time changes to/from PSNY.)

And NJT’s approach was actually more civil than the one taken earlier on Tuesday by Gov. Chris Christie. The New York Times reported that Christie said, “We know we can’t trust Amtrak,” in an article that added, “Mr. Christie expressed no faith in Amtrak’s ability to keep any trains running on time. He said that he agreed with Mr. Cuomo that the long-term solution to the frequent disruptions and derailments at Penn Station is to replace Amtrak as the station’s operator, ‘given Amtrak’s duplicity, their dishonesty and their inability to keep this infrastructure in a state of good repair.’” Continue Reading

Anti-Semitic Graffiti Discovered at South Mountain Reservation, County and Community Work Together to Remove It

BY  |  Wednesday, Mar 01, 2017 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (4)

Anti-Semitic Graffiti Discovered at South Mountain Reservation

Since the beginning of this year, tombstones have been toppled at Jewish cemeteries in Missouri and Pennsylvania and nearly 100 Jewish Community Centers and schools nationwide have received bomb threats. The latest anti-semitic incident occurred in our own backyard.

Anti-semitic graffiti was discovered on the pedestrian bridge at South Mountain Reservation in South Orange late Tuesday morning. That evening, the Essex County Park Department, along with several Rabbis and community members, removed the offensive graffiti, reports The Village Green.

Community Leaders of Maplewood, South Orange, and Essex County all made statements of outrage and a firm stance against hate crimes in any form.

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First Annual SOMA Film Festival to Run at SOPAC

BY  |  Tuesday, Feb 02, 2016 1:00pm

SOMA Film Festival

The first annual SOMA Film Festival will run for two days, February 13-14, at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC). The festival will kick off with an opening night party on Friday, February 12.

The impressive program will include feature length films, documentaries and shorts. Films with Academy Award-winner Melissa Leo (Mother’s Day – Short) and Emmy Award-winner, the late, great Albert Maysles with his final documentary feature In Transit —that was also an Official Tribeca Film Festival selection — are highlights that film enthusiasts won’t want to miss.
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Senators Gillibrand and Booker Share Inspiration #OffTheSidelines in Montclair

BY  |  Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014 6:08am  |  COMMENTS (1)

Sunday night’s Adult School of Montclair (ASM) and Watchung Booksellers free community event in the Montclair High School auditorium brought over 800 attendees to listen to Senator Gillibrand of New York and New Jersey’s Senator Booker share personal and professional stories meant to inspire as well as entertain. Gillibrand has been making the rounds on behalf of her new book Off The Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World.

Dr. Susan Cole, President of Montclair State University, gave a warm and welcoming introduction to the Senators replete with reasons why Senator Gillibrand’s book is important as an inspiration and push to get more girls involved in their communities.

The conversation between Gillibrand and Booker revealed the great respect and friendship between the two senators. Touching on topics related to Senator Gillibrand’s new book, Off The Sidelines, the conversation covered work/life balance, mentoring, role models, and the importance of a varied and consistent female voice in politics. Continue Reading

Afghanistan to Montclair: Living the Humanitarian Village

BY  |  Monday, Aug 04, 2014 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (1)

Leslie Granda-Hill and Bilal Sharif

Learning photography at the Iris Presby Memorial Gardens *photo courtesy of Leslie Granda-Hill

In the midst of horrific news and events, sometimes it is the most tender human stories that remind us of the good that keeps the world in balance. A Montclair photographer is playing a role in an inspiring story of one boy’s journey to health and well-being. Leslie Granda-Hill, whose work often intersects with humanitarian and charitable causes, has been documenting the story of Bilal Sharif. Continue Reading

SOFIA to Hold its 4th Annual Walk Against Domestic Violence – “From Surviving to Thriving”

BY  |  Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014 10:30am

SOFIA 4th WalkEvery nine seconds, a woman in the USA is assaulted or beaten, and the vast majority of these abuses are between intimate partners. Every month in the USA, at least 46 women are shot to death by their former or current intimate partners. In New Jersey, on average, there are 70,000 domestic violence calls every year. Those who work in law enforcement and victims’ services know that many abuses go unreported. The numbers are staggering, shocking, disheartening, and all too real.

In our area, Montclair’s own Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates (SOFIA) helps victims of domestic violence to move on, and the organization also educates young people about how they can avoid the cycle of violence altogether. Check out the various programs SOFIA offers here.

This September, SOFIA will hold its Fourth Annual Walk Against Domestic Violence in beautiful Canterbury Park. Last year’s walk was a resounding success, with a big crowd of survivors and supporters as well as several eloquent speakers. This year the Grand Marshal is the Reverend Simone Oliver, one of the presenters at last year’s event. Continue Reading

Pitty Rescue, Inc. to Hold Yard Sale Fundraiser, May 31 and June 1

Friday, May 09, 2014 8:15am  |  COMMENTS (4)

pittyPitty Rescue, Inc., a charitable nonprofit rescue organization, will hold a yard sale to raise funds for the dogs currently in their care on Saturday, May 31, and Sunday, June 1 at Paradise Pet Store in Bloomfield.

The sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both days. Pitty Rescue is asking for donations of clean, functional, and appropriate items for resale prior to the yard sale. Donated items can be dropped off at Paradise Pet Store during regular business hours.

Jeff and Diana Coltenback, owners of Paradise Pet Store and founders of Pitty Rescue, are internationally by dog lovers as rescuers and skilled dog trainers.

“Since we are very familiar with each dog and know their personalities, we want to make sure the dog is comfortable with the prospective candidate,” said Jeff Coltenback, who has worked as a trainer for more than 20 years. “The dogs are really the ones who choose the family. We facilitate the process by watching the dogs’ signals, visiting the potential owners’ homes, and holding sessions for both the dog and human to become more acquainted with each other.”

Currently, the no-kill Pitty Rescue, Inc. has seven dogs available for adoption – three females and four males. Five are Pit Bull terriers or terrier mixes, one is a Great Dane mix, and the other a Dogo Argentino mix.

Pitty Rescue, Inc. can always use more blankets, towels, supplies, and funds to help care for the animals in the Coltenbacks’ care.

#MFF14: Montclair Film Festival Holds Free Ticket Contest to Thank Montclair

BY  |  Friday, May 02, 2014 9:30am

What Is Cinema?

The Montclair Film Festival has been having a fantastic week! Between a delicious opening night with Chef, family activities, and a packed and energetic room for The New Golden Age of Television, the half-way point for the festival promises a fantastic weekend for all involved!

To thank the community for its support and enthusiasm, the Montclair Film Festival is running several flash contests on its Facebook page and through Twitter for FREE tickets to five different screenings over the weekend. All it takes is answering a (pretty darn easy) question about movies or the film topics to enter.

Each of these five films will have a Q&A, so these are special opportunities to get into the mind of filmmakers and behind the scenes of the films themselves. Music, College, Black Culture in Photography, Rebellious Art, and Defining Cinema are all included. For more information and schedules of films, click on film titles below. Winners will be randomly chosen every hour!

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Live SunSmart Aims to Raise Awareness About Sun Safety

BY  |  Tuesday, Apr 29, 2014 12:30pm

As the winter sweaters and snow boots get put away (hopefully!), and boogie boards and beach umbrellas replace ice scrapers and rock salt in our cars, it’s time to start thinking about sun protection as we spend more time outdoors.

May has been designated Skin Cancer Protection and Prevention Month by the American Cancer Society as a way to raise awareness about melanoma and other types of skin cancer. The goal is to encourage early detection through self-examination and yearly skin checkups by a board-certified dermatologist.

Locally, Teri L. Festa and her family created the Live SunSmart Foundation in 1993, which grew out of a tribute to her father, Ray, a lifelong resident of Montclair and owner of Ray’s Luncheonette on Walnut Street, a popular hangout for locals and those who worked in Montclair. Ray Festa died of melanoma at age 53 in 1992. The mission of the Foundation is to raise awareness about skin cancer and to encourage “sun smart” behaviors, which include applying sunscreen daily. Continue Reading

Animal Welfare Federation of NJ to Host Conference, March 14-15

Saturday, Mar 01, 2014 5:55pm

parrotThe Animal Welfare Federation of New Jersey (AWFNJ) will host its annual Animal Welfare & Care Conference at the Ocean Place Resort & Spa in Long Branch, Friday and Saturday March 14-15. It is one of the largest animal welfare conferences on the East Coast and attracts attendees from all over thre region. AWFNJ is a statewide coalition of national and local animal welfare organizations working collaboratively to improve animal welfare in the State of New Jersey through advocacy, networking, and education.

Beth Cruz, president of Shelter Showcase, is a board member of AWFNJ and helps plan the conference. “The workshops and speakers at the AWFNJ Conference are top notch, and bring life-saving information to the shelters, rescue groups and volunteers, to help us work smarter for the animals in our communities,” she said. “I encourage any local resident interested in helping animals to register for the conference. Businesses can also participate by sponsoring, exhibiting, or donating a prize to the event’s tricky tray.”

The conference features two days of workshops, reception and entertainment, and keynote speakers. Presenters include some of the nation’s most dedicated names in animal welfare. The workshops cover topics such as adoption, animal control, wildlife, dog fighting, and fighting animal cruelty.

Sponsors of the event include Petfinder, PetSmart Charities, Merck Animal Health, and Datamars.

Incorporated in 1995, AWFNJ acts as a unifying voice for the animal protection community. AWFNJ advocates on animal welfare legislation, encourages the enforcement of animal cruelty laws, conducts programs to elevate the quality of care for animals, and acts as a resource to help members solve common problems.

Tickets information and a full conference schedule are available on the web site.

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Another "ground-level basement" (to get around the building height rules)?!

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