Montclair High School Graduation: To Stay, Or Not To Stay… At The Amphitheater (POLL)

BY  |  Thursday, Jul 06, 2017 8:58am  |  COMMENTS (7)

Montclair High School graduated the Class of 2017 on Thursday, June 22 at the school’s 150th commencement. If you watch this video, you can see the beautiful ceremony and the cheering crowds. Starting at around the 34 minute mark of the video, the camera pans the audience for two minutes and you can see crowds of families standing all along the amphitheater, because no seats were available. Then the camera pans over to the fence along the amphitheater where you can see a group of parents and family members standing on the other side of the fence, who weren’t allowed into the amphitheater.

Nancy Witter was one of the many disappointed parents left standing outside the ceremony looking in and estimates she was one of at least 100 family members not admitted into the ceremony. “Our older son graduated in 2015 and the ceremony was in the auditorium due to rain,” Witter tells Baristanet. “That was also chaotic. No (or inadequate) air conditioning, overcrowded, standing room only. Only two tickets each family but clearly not enforced.”

The problem with overcrowding isn’t new. Gail Prusslin recalls the issue coming up back in 2007-2008, with parents concerned about lack of room in the amphitheater as well as concerns around safety and comfort for those attending who may be in wheelchairs, have mobility issues, etc. “Personally, I love the look and feel of the amphitheater, but it was/is just not practical for a graduation class of our size,” says Prusslin.

At that time, a group of parents met and researched some options, including the football field and other nearby venues at Montclair State. “Our consensus was that the football field would be the best way to accommodate the families and still feel connected to the High School. We thought the graduates could meet at the amphitheater with their parents, cross the bridge, and “parade” to the field (with the band accompanying them, of course),” says Prusslin. There were concerns about the heels of shoes potentially damaging the field, so the group looked into renting a surface that would protect the field. However, the plan, presented to then Principal Mel Katz and Superintendent Frank Alvarez never got past the initial idea, due to resistance Prusslin believes was related to cost, logistics and a change in tradition.

That tradition includes walking over bridges at the amphitheater, a symbolic right of passage that’s unique to Montclair High School. Continue Reading

Don’t Miss Montclair Food & Wine Bourbon & Biergarten 2017

BY  |  Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 12:15pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Remember what a fantastic time it was last year? Well, you won’t want to miss the 2017 Montclair Food & Wine Festival’s Bourbon and Biergarten! This year’s event, Saturday, July 15, moves to the Wellmont Theater, and pairs delicious dishes from area restaurants with wine, beer and spirits curated by Amanti Vino. There will also be live music by Street Beat Brass and a choice of three experience levels:

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Sights and Sounds From 2017 Montclair 4th of July Parade

BY  |  Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 8:06am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Tuesday was a beautiful day for a parade and Montclair’s 67th annual 4th of July Parade did not disappoint. The parade, like Montclair, had a diverse lineup, featuring the young and old, candidates and political opinion, music, amazing floats, art, even a visit from Santa, and of course, it all ends with Elvis (a.k.a. Peter Giuffra).

Perennial parade favorite the Commonwealth Club, with a wink and a nod to the development of the historic Lackawanna train station, created an Erie Lackawanna railroad train complete with billowing smoke (and water spray!). The Little Daisy Bake Shop offered a sweet surprise with their three-tiered cake float.

An energetic group from Montclair Community Pre-K, featuring current students and alumni, proudly served as parade grand marshal.

Music made the parade come alive with bagpipes, incredible performances by Fralinger String Band of Philadelphia and Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps, student musicians from Jazz House Kids and School of Rock Montclair, as well as Montclair Community Band (videos below).

Mikie Sherrill, who is challenging Rep. Ronald Frelinghuysen in the 11th district, made her parade debut as a candidate, marching with an enthusiastic group of supporters. Aging in Montclair marched to bring awareness to senior issues, while another group showed support for Montclair Public Schools and a plea to “Stop the Layoffs.”

Montclair Community Band

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@jazz_house_kids 🎵

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Parade! #montclair #4thofjuly

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Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps Marching Band!!

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Love them!!

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Stuffed and Bobbi Brown: Healthy Together in Montclair

BY  |  Friday, Jun 30, 2017 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)

If you love Stuffed grass fed burgers on Montclair’s Valley Road, you’re not alone. Turns out Montclair’s makeup mogul Bobbi Brown likes them, too. But Brown (who stepped down from her company in December and is now onto new endeavors, including JustBOBBI focusing on beauty from within) would tell you that you can’t eat burgers every day.

Brown collaborated with Stuffed owner Dan Campeas to create a new healthy and colorful Kale Salad for Stuffed, featuring tomatoes, cucumber, chick peas, sliced almonds, radishes, and balsamic honey mustard ($10.95). Campeas, who grew up in Montclair, got to know Brown when he became friends with her son when they were both at Montclair High School.

You can order the new salad “Bobbi’s Way,” with a kids burger, goat cheese crumbles, lemon and extra virgin olive oil ($15.95), which is exactly how Brown likes it when she comes to Stuffed, says Campeas.

Looking to Adopt? Nine Colombian Older Orphans Visiting With Kidsave Summer Miracles Program

BY  |  Thursday, Jun 29, 2017 11:30am  |  COMMENTS (1)

Rachael Quinn Egan with Francy and her younger daughters at graduation


Montclair adoption advocate Rachael Quinn Egan will drive to JFK airport this Friday to meet nine foster children arriving from Colombia through Kidsave’s Summer Miracles Program.

Kidsave is a volunteer-driven effort engaged in helping move older kids, ages 8 – 14, out of foster care or orphanages and into permanent, loving homes. The children will be hosted by families in the NY/NJ area for the month of July. Egan, who is hosting an 11-year-old girl named Denis, will help advocate to find her an adoptive family.

Egan adopted her daughter Francy through Kidsave five years ago when Francy was 13. Last week, Francy graduated Montclair High School and will attend an honors program at Rutgers this fall.

Of her own experience adopting, Egan says “A friend of mine who loves to do a lot of outdoor risky adventure stuff once told me he thought I was very brave to adopt a teenager, but as I told him we all just find our adventure and joy in different ways. Meeting one of these children might just be the greatest opportunity for a potential parent in our area, and it could be a life saving event for the child.”

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More Than 500 Graduate! Montclair High School Class of 2017 Commencement & Project Graduation

BY  |  Tuesday, Jun 27, 2017 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (1)

Montclair High School Class of 2017 is going places. Some MHS seniors will take a gap year or join the workforce; others are headed to Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Brown, Tufts, Ithaca, Syracuse, Oberlin, NYU, The Juilliard School and many other institutions of higher learning this fall. Commencement speaker, novelist Benilde Little, urged the graduates that no matter where they go, to “take Montclair with you.” Last Thursday evening was the 150th graduation for MHS, held as tradition, when weather permits, in the school’s outdoor amphitheater.

Julianna Wittmann, Student Coalition president

Julianna Wittmann, Student Coalition President 2017, welcomed everyone to the commencement ceremony, thanking teachers and administrators, and nostalgically quoting Cody from “The Suite Life on Deck”: “As we say goodbye to high school and head off our separate ways we take with us the memories of all the adventures we’ve shared.”

Wittmann also spoke of the impact made by the Student Coalition this year, including efforts to fix the parking situation at MHS. “I encourage you all to treasure the memories forged in these halls and take them with you on whatever path you will soon be heading down,” Wittmann added. Continue Reading

Montclair Food News: Broughton Grill Now Open; Kimchi Smoke Opens Today

BY  |  Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 11:45am

The wait is over! Head on over to Kimchi Smoke House II today for lunch or dinner (Wednesday, June 14, from 12-3 and 5-9 p.m.) and taste the famous Chonut (pictured) as well as Chef Robert Austin Cho’s classics: Cholander Fries (crispy fries loaded with pulled pork, Bourbon Chipotle Sauce, smoked kimchi, cheddar cheese, scallions) , Bad as Texas Brisket (12 hr smoked Creekstone brisket), Bourbon Vanilla Pudding with Captain Crunch and more. New additions will include: Korean Redneck Tacos 2.0 with a housemade salsa verde and Summer Salad (romaine lettuce, grilled corn, grilled cherry tomatoes and Korean BBQ Cauliflower.

Kimchi Smoke House II, 345 Bloomfield Ave. Montclair, (973) 744-3900

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Giveaway: Tickets to See Christine Lavin at Outpost in the Burbs

BY ,  |  Tuesday, Apr 18, 2017 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (2)

Outpost in the Burbs presents Christine Lavin on Friday, April 21 and Baristanet has a pair of tickets to give away to one lucky reader!

This concert will take place at the First Congregational Church, 40 South Fullerton Avenue in Montclair. Opening will be Honor Finnegan.

The inimitable singer-songwriter, guitarist, and recording artist Christine Lavin has been based in New York City since 1976. She emerged out of the crowded New York City songwriter scene of the ’80s with a style that distinguished her from her peers. Christine is currently working on her 23rd solo album, scheduled for release in the fall of 2017.

Her music is a mix of folk and stand-up comedy and cannot be easily categorized. She has recently added intermission tutorial activities — namely, teaching audience members how to fold cloth napkins in the Downton Abbey style. Continue Reading

Alfresco Food and Fun Coming to Montclair Bread Bakery

BY  |  Friday, Apr 14, 2017 10:30am

The new outdoor space in front of the Montclair Bread Label Street Bakery made us smile when we saw it. Owner/baker Rachel Crampsey tells us the space, featuring benches crafted by carpenter and friend Tyler Clogston, was part of the original plan for the bakery, took a little while to make happen.

Crampsey says the bakery host parties for children & adults every weekend and now the new outdoor area will add even more fun to the celebrations. Montclair Bread is also planning some special evening activities.

“In May, we’re launching Family Fridays. Families can come in and make their own pizza, create a seasonal salad and finish the meal off by decorating a box of doughnuts for dessert. Spots for Family Friday can be reserved ahead through our online store. Continue Reading

Paper Mill Playhouse Gives A Rockin’ Good Time with Million Dollar Quartet

BY  |  Wednesday, Apr 12, 2017 3:45pm

December 4, 1956 was a day when a chance meeting became a legendary moment in rock and roll history. That day, fate brought together Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the first and only time, to the Sun Records studio in Memphis, TN.

Million Dollar Quartet, the musical, now playing at the Paper Mill Play House takes you back to that day, via a musical journey that includes “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “That’s All Right,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Walk the Line,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Matchbox,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Hound Dog” and more.

Million Dollar Quartet at Paper Mill Playhouse; Photo by Mathew Murphy; center:
Alex Boniello (Elvis Presley); background from left to right: Nat Zegree (Jerry Lee Lewis), Jason
Loughlin (Sam Phillips), James Barry (Carl Perkins), David Sonneborn (Fluke), Bligh Voth
(Dyanne), Scott Moreau (Johnny Cash).

Sun owner Carl Phillips, who was overseeing a recording session for Perkins (played by James Barry who also serves as musical director), had invited his newly signed artist Jerry Lee Lewis to play keys at the session. What happens next was four major artists — a Million Dollar Quartet — performing in a legendary jam session.
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I've been driving the Marlboro Inn around town for the past 12 years, looking for a suitable relocation site. Any ideas?

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