BY Baristanet Staff | Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 10:15am
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Baristanet and PLANETCIVIC are calling on the residents of Montclair to participate in a crowdsourcing experiment in civic engagement and information gathering for the safety of all Montclair residents.
PLANETCIVIC is a local community engagement platform that allows the town’s residents to post their ideas for the community, and gather support for those ideas in the form of votes. Currently, the 3rd most voted-on idea in PLANETCIVIC is Improve Lighting and Visibility in Montclair, posted on PLANETCIVIC by Baristanet editor Liz George in response to the many concerns about lighting she has heard from readers in Baristaville. Inadequate lighting is a clearly a pain point for everyone from pedestrians walking home from trains and to drivers navigating the increasingly busy streets of Montclair.
However, this general feedback is less useful to the Town Council and municipal planners than specific information about the places in Montclair that cause residents distress. In partnership with PLANETCIVIC, we will rank the streets, corners and intersections that residents find the most problematic, and share the data with the Mayor, Town Council, Essex County executive and PSEG.
Be a Part of the Safer, Brighter Streets Campaign:
BY Announcement | Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 7:00am
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(l-r): Essex County Director of Economic Development, Training and Employment, Anibal Ramos, Jr., S.O.F.I.A. Board Member Kristin Wald, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.
Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates (S.O.F.I.A.) has announced two generous grants that will make key programs viable during 2017.
Montclair Township, on behalf of Essex County, will again support S.O.F.I.A.’s Soar to Success program with a generous CDBG grant of $12,000 for 2017. This grant will ensure that the social, emotional, and financial health programs that S.O.F.I.A. offers from January through May will continue to be free-of-charge and open to the community. Cynthia Walker, S.O.F.I.A.’s founder and Executive Director, said, “We are so grateful that the Montclair and Essex County officials recognize the value and community benefits of these programs for our clients and for the community as a whole. We invite the community to take part and learn more about S.O.F.I.A.’s programs.”
BY Georgette Gilmore | Monday, Feb 27, 2017 8:30am
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44 Pleasant Avenue, the one-time home of the late notable Montclair resident Aubrey Lewis. Image courtesy of Google.
Last year, the Montclair Planning Board voted in a tie of 4-4 failing to designate 44 Pleasant Avenue as an historic designation. Tonight, at the Montclair Planning Board meeting, an application to have the house demolished and the property subdivided into 8 lots is on the agenda for approval.
The house, designed by local architect Dudley Van Antwerp in 1906, was recommended for its unique style in comparison to Van Antwerp’s many other houses in the area but for also being the home of Woolworth executive Aubrey Lewis, one of Montclair’s esteemed black residents and the a member of a 1962 FBI agent training class, the first to admit blacks.
According to the Lewis’s family Real estate agent Laurena White, the family objected to the designation because it would complicate efforts to sell the property, both for themselves and prospective owners.
Board member Martin Schwartz forcefully argued that the historic designation should be forwarded to the council because the recommendation met two criteria and that the decision had to be based on historic value and not economics. Board member Carole Willis disagreed, saying that the Lewis family should not accept an historic designation they neither asked for nor wanted. Her reasoning prevailed, as the motion to forward the Lewis house recommendation failed by a 4-4 tie, with Councilor McMahon abstaining. Joining Willis were Barr, Ianuale, and Craig Brandon; Schwartz was joined by Loughman, DeSalvo and Keith Brodock.
Residents of the neighborhood are upset and are pushing for the designation in order to stop the tear down and development in its place.
BY Baristanet Staff | Friday, Feb 24, 2017 9:00am
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Montclair TV34 and the Montclair Environmental Commission (MEC) will present a brand new show — A Greener Day — which premieres Sunday, February 26 at 3 pm on Comcast and Verizon FiOS, channel 34 for both providers. The first episode features the opening of the Prudential Sea Turtle Recovery Center at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo.
“A Greener Day will cover news events and updates on environmental projects in the community,” said Montclair Environmental Commissioner Co-Chair Lyle Landon, who hosts the show. “We’ll be speaking with the experts, looking at issues from a local — and global — perspective.”
The first episode features Landon interviewing sea turtle conservationists about the recovery of cold-stunned sea turtles that wash ashore on Northeast beaches in greater numbers each year.
BY Steven Maginnis | Thursday, Feb 23, 2017 8:37am
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An artist’s rendering of the northern end of the proposed Seymour Street plaza, with the Wellmont Theatre marquee on the right.
The Montclair Planning Board held a rare Wednesday night meeting on February 22 to begin the application for new construction and a new pedestrian plaza in the Seymour Street redevelopment area with the purpose of creating an arts district. The project consists of two buildings on either side of Seymour Street, one a six-story mixed-use structure with two levels of parking. The application, spearheaded by Brookfield Property Partners and Montclair developer Brian Stolar, did not include any testimony on the architecture of the proposed buildings. Attorney Thomas Trautner, representing the applicants, explained that the details of the architectural design had to be ironed out in a session with the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) at its regular meeting on February 23. However, the first application hearing did include artistic renderings of what the final product might look like for the benefit of the board members and Montclair residents in attendance. Continue Reading
BY Steven Maginnis | Wednesday, Feb 22, 2017 7:44am
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The Montclair Township Council went through another go-around of vocal support from residents at its February 21 meeting in favor of a township resolution declaring Montclair as a sanctuary city. The resolution Mayor Robert Jackson and the councilors considered and narrowly passed, though, did not use those terms, saying instead that Montclair would continue to commit to equal treatment of all people and to remain an open and welcoming community.
A resident shows support for a resolution welcoming immigrants to Montclair.
BY Baristanet Staff | Tuesday, Feb 21, 2017 2:45pm
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Montclair Township has installed 40 Bigbelly smart waste disposal units throughout Montclair Center. The Bigbelly Smart Waste & Recycling System will help streamline collection operations and keep public spaces clean by keeping waste in and critters out.
With the Bigbelly smart waste disposal system the Township will be able to optimize collection routines, track and measure operations, and show location-based waste patterns (such as volume, fill rate, collection activity). Measurable data from the stations on the street provides real-time reports on metrics such as waste volume, efficiency, and diversion when a recycling stream is present.
Plus, the Bigbelly station compacts waste to hold five times the amount of a standard refuse bin (150 gallons vs. a standard traditional bin’s 30-gallon capacity).
Tuesday, Feb 21, 2017 11:30am
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The week in Montclair Crime from D/Lt. David O’Dowd, Montclair Police Department:
02-18-2017 (Bloomfield Avenue) Officers responded to a report of a 21yoa Montclair female who was not breathing and unresponsive. It was determined that this condition was the result of an Opioid overdose. Officers administered Naloxone and were successful in reviving that party. She was transported to the hospital for treatment.
02-15-2017 (Pine Street) Mr. Omar Williams (38yoa from East Orange) was arrested on an open warrant for his involvement in a Burglary on North Mountain Avenue. During his arrest, he was discovered to be in possession of a GPS Unit which had been stolen during a vehicle break-in in James Street. He was additionally charged with Receiving Stolen Property.
BY Georgette Gilmore | Tuesday, Feb 21, 2017 9:15am
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A campaign to spread love and peace has made its way from the diverse North Park Neighborhood in Chicago to all over the country, including Montclair. The Hate Has No Home Here signs and posters were created as a non-partisan public declaration that hate speech and hateful actions against others will not be tolerated by the person or organization displaying the sign.
BY Announcement | Tuesday, Feb 21, 2017 8:02am
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James Harris, long-time civil rights activist and advocate for educational access, will be the Black History Month Guest Speaker at Rising Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Montclair on Sunday, February 26 beginning at 10:40 am at 27 Monroe Place.
Harris, a resident of Montclair, is the first vice-president of the Montclair NAACP. He is a former president of both the Montclair chapter and the New Jersey State NAACP. He retired from a 42-year career at Montclair State University, which included 21 years as associate dean of students and 6 years as university ombudsman. Continue Reading