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daily dish
May  16

In Case You Don't Look at Our Announcement Box

Baristanet has moved. The new address is We'll soon be redirecting you to the new url automatically.

Posted by Liz on May 16, 2006 at 09:41 AM
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daily dish
May  13

Window Painting

Paintmtc_1 Paintmtc2

Shop anywhere in Montclair, and you can't help noticing bright paintings on the storefront windows.  It's the artwork of "2006 Paint Montclair", sponsored by the Montclair Art Museum.  Last Saturday, 160 kids who participated in the contest found their inner artist.  MAM provided paints, brushes and palettes (ok, paper plates) and instructions to paint a springtime picture.  The junior painters spread out in seven business districts from the South End to Upper Montclair

Continue reading "Window Painting"

Posted by Annette Batson on May 13, 2006 at 02:24 PM
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daily dish
May  13

Flatulent Friar

Was this the reason Friar Tuck's closed?


For some great ideas for yummy weekend dining – and where to take Mom --  check out Food.
-- Photo: Anthony Batson

Continue reading "Flatulent Friar"

Posted by Annette Batson on May 13, 2006 at 12:01 PM
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daily dish
May  13

Ballyowen -- The Best $140 a NJ Golfer Can Spend

(The clubhouse and majestic scenery that is...Ballyowen)

The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the greens are greening.

For many of us in the area, spring marks the rite of passage known as the golf season.  And unlike golfing in any other part of the country, only in New Jersey will you see hackers hacking at one another over ball placement.

But fear not, there are still some places in the state where civility is upheld -- not to mention breathtaking landscapes. 

Ballyowen is such a place.  Nestled in Sussex County (about a 45 minute drive up Route 23), Ballyowen is the crown jewel of the Crystal Springs 6-course golf network.  Through the years, greens fees have risen to jewel-like highs (Weekend Primetime rounds cost $140).  But I dare you to walk away from the Scottish-styled links course (high fescue, hilly terrain, bagpipers, and a sheep meadow on the 13th) no matter your playing ability unsatisfied by the experience. 

Some tips:

  • Show up an hour prior to tee time and take advantage of the free range balls (they should comp you something for the pricey greens fees) and putting area.  With mutli-tiered and fast greens, you will need all the practice you can get.
  • It pays to be a member - through all 6 courses, you can get a $99 Rewards card that gives you discounts on greens fees, merchandise, and opportunities to play in members-only tournaments, as well as 12-day advance tee-time reservations
  • Make sure as the days get longer, you take advantage of the twilight and super-twilight specials.  Not only do you play for less, you will also hear the bagpiper play "O Danny Boy!" at sunset.

Matt Caruso

Posted by MattyC on May 13, 2006 at 09:30 AM
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daily dish
May  12

Corzine Budget Gets MSU Calling For Action

Governor Corzine's proposed budget includes a $169 million funding cut for higher education, and Montclair State University will be among the institutions to feel the financial pinch.  Their Office of Government Relations has released this statement looking for support of the University.

Call to Action: NJ Higher Education Budget Crisis

Governor Jon Corzine's proposed Fiscal Year 2007 budget proposes to cut funding to higher education by $169 million. The New Jersey Legislature will be reviewing the Governor's budget and undoubtedly making some modifications to it as it does every year. You are urged to contact your legislator to advise them that the proposed cuts would be extremely harmful to higher education in general and Montclair State in particular.

To assist you we have  a sample letter  you can  send to your State Legislator. For your convenience the letter  specific to your relationship with Montclair State is available in two formats. Click on any of the links below to view a sample letter:

Continue reading "Corzine Budget Gets MSU Calling For Action"

Posted by Annette Batson on May 12, 2006 at 05:04 PM
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Open Space Call For Action

Cary Africk doesn't work for American Properties, but he would like us to stop talking about Crisco and focus on the following...

Crisco is done. Get over it. Move on. But the issues of open space, planning and implementing our master plan are just beginning. As the article explains [a Montclair Times piece not yet online], the Town Manager, and at least one member of the planning board are suggesting that the Town sell one of Montclair’s only remaining open spaces, adjacent to Brookdale Park. The plan is to sell it to a developer for a subdivision. And not only do they want to sell it, they want to change the zoning ordinance on minimum lot size so a maximum number of homes could be built!

This is not a done deal, and to his credit Mayor Remsen, who has consistently shown good judgment on so many critical issues facing the town, is evaluating the suggestion and going slow. And another planning board member, who also sits on the Environmental Commission is quoted as saying he “opposes any effort to rezone the municipal property and place homes on it.” And even the head of the Planning Board expressed concern.

Posted by Liz George on May 12, 2006 at 02:18 PM
in Only in Montclair | E-mail this story | Permalink | Talk back to the Barista (137)

Closed For Renovations?

Wellmont_1 If you love the Wellmont, and we do, you may have been surprised to hear that the movie house and the retro theatre experience it delivers (down to the RC Cola) is on hold. The answering machine explains that the theater is closed for renovations.

Truly one of the world's great movie palaces, the Wellmont Theatre has been honored by the Historical Society of Montclair. Originally built in 1922 as a legitimate theatre, it was converted to a motion picture theatre in 1929. Although the theatre has been multiplexed, the historical and irreplaceable decor has been preserved, and the theatre has received many awards. Unlike the box-like theatres constructed today, the workmanship and handicraft that can be seen and enjoyed cannot be duplicated.


What we have heard from several sources, but have not been able to confirm directly is that Steven Plofker has bought the theater and is behind the renovations.

If Steve returns our calls, maybe we'll find out what the renovation plans involve...

Meanwhile. here's a quote from Dick Grabowsky...

"People have told me that theater is absolutely gorgeous on the inside. I'm afraid that what's going to happen is the real estate developer who purchased it might possibly want to destroy those beautiful elements and turn it into apartments or something like that. It would be a real shame if we lost one of the few great theaters we have left in town."

Posted by Liz George on May 12, 2006 at 02:15 PM
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Thrill Seekers


Art, Music, Wine Rebecca Bennett Panos' exhibition of her photographs, "Quiet Landscapes" opens tonight at Sepia Home, 43 Church Street.  Come  tonight, 6-9 pm for the opening  reception to meet Rebecca. They'll be serving cocktails, appetizers, and playing European club music.

Sadia: An evening of jazz vocals - Sadia started singing as a second grader at Nishuane School, now hear her tonight, Friday, May 12, 7-10pm at Taro Restaurant 32 Church Street, Montclair.

Spring Concert Friday, May 12, 7:30 pm,The Montclair Community Band Ensemble performs at MHS Auditorium (corner of Park and Chestnut Sts in Montclair) The program includes "Festive Overture", "Russians Sailor's Dance", the music from "Evita" and 'pop' numbers like "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", "Someone to Watch Over Me".Free admission & parking.

Last Chance : People can't say enough about the fabulous production of CATS at Montclair High. It's family friendly entertainment, read the review. At the George Inness Annex Theatre, 141 Park Street. Tickets: $12 for adults, $10 for students. Friday, May 12 and Saturday May 13 at 8:00 PM
Sunday matinee May 14 at 3:00 PM the box office opens 7 pm; Sunday the box office opens at 2 pm.

Move Your Mind: Tonight, Friday at Yoga Montclair (behind Starbucks, Upper Montclair) the yoga and Madisonsdescent_2writing group meets for a combination of breathing and mildstretches, more for the mind than the body. People are invited to bring in pieces of inspiration. Wear comfortable clothes and bring paper and pen. 7-8:30 p.m., $5 donation. 973-233-9642

Theatrical Premiere: Madison's Descent, a multi-media musical presentation at the Alexander Kasser Theatre, MSU. Inspired by the book by Page Allen, the story is about a baby girl's journey of birth down The Great River of Stars. Family entertainment, read the review.  Tonight, May 12 and May 13, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday May, 14 3p.m. 973-655-5112.

Continue reading "Thrill Seekers"

Posted by Annette Batson on May 12, 2006 at 12:55 PM
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Heroic Dudes

Since we've been hearing a lot of sirens lately, let's tip our hats to the guys who protect us by running into burning buildings, rescuing children, and fighting street crime.  Twenty five Essex County policemen and firefighters were saluted Wednesday by the 200 Club of Essex County, with valor awards for exceptional bravery, courage and dedication during 2005.  The greater Baristaville heroes included in the awards ceremony were Lt. Timothy Murphy, Bloomfield Fire Department, Capt. David Flanagan, Firefighters Joseph Coletta and Philip Malia, Bloomfield Fire Department, Sgt. Robert Acceturo and officer Timothy Banta, Verona Police, Corey Keepers, Cedar Grove Fire Department, and Batallion Chief Anthony DeBerto, Belleville Fire Department. Congratulations, guys. Read their stories here.

Posted by Annette Batson on May 12, 2006 at 12:08 PM
in Major Dudes | E-mail this story | Permalink | Talk back to the Barista (12)

Making Montclair's History Demo-Proof

The house at 4 Duryea Road may make Montclair history in more ways than one. The threat of its demise, coupled with a community's outcry over what came as a result of the Marlboro Inn demolition, may have served as the catalyst for a new push to preserve all the historic homes in Montclair. From the Montclair Times...


“I would like to see the [Historic Preservation] Commission (HPC) nominate, or consider nominating, all 96 [Montclair] homes that are on the state or federal historic registers,” said Deputy Mayor Joyce Michaelson during Monday’s meeting of the Montclair Planning Board. “This would give us the opportunity to discuss these buildings and discuss the landmarking process.”

Meanwhile, 4 Duryea Road, which is registed as the Huestis House, will still be considered on its own.

"I think that [the Huestis House] would probably be considered individually because it already has a potential problem with it,” said HPC Chairman Ted Lippincott in an interview with The Times. “And, to some degree, that is what caused people to look around and think, ‘Well, maybe we need to do something about all the rest.’”

An example of the "rest" is shown above, a gorgeous Queen Anne built around the same time as 4 Duryea and on about the same size lot. Located at 86 Llewellyn Road, it also happens to be for sale for $1,899,000. For a look at a sampling of the other 90-plus homes with a historical designation in Montclair, go to the jump and scroll over pictures for addresses...

Continue reading "Making Montclair's History Demo-Proof"

Posted by Liz George on May 12, 2006 at 10:20 AM
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The Voting Machines That Don't Add Up

Li704385_1Here’s the good news: Essex County finally has all of the electronic voting machines it needs for upcoming elections in June.
Now for the bad: According to some outraged Montclairians, and Blue Jersey, a self described progressive source of news, political analysis and activism, the county got ripped-off, BIG TIME. They say the machines are a total waste of money and about as up to date as a 1980s Lincoln.

The new machines, about 700 of them, cost around $8,000 a piece. They're supplied by Sequoia Voting Systems, which provides machines to most of the state’s 21 counties. This week the county had to fork over almost $60,000 more on what they've already paid. Sequoia says that's the cost to get the machines ready for the election and to train election board workers.

From the Local

Citizens and freeholders alike were not pleased about approving additional funding for Sequoia, which had already failed to meet the obligations of its original contract by not delivering the machines on time.
Previously, the board had discussed the potential of filing suit against Sequoia for failure to deliver the machines in a timely manner, and subjecting the county to possible state and federal infractions.
"This board shouldn't go five cents more contractually then it has already gone with the company," Freeholder Carol Clark said.

The county’s contract with the vendor has been nothing but contentious since it was first considered almost a year ago.

Local residents banded together in protest of the contract, citing the electronic machine’s susceptibility to tampering, and the lack of a voter-verified paper trail.

However, according to Montclair resident Richard Insley, who spoke at the May 3 meeting, the Sequoia machines are not compliant with the federal law, and are the most expensive option available to the county.  Frances Martin, also of Montclair, came equipped with a copy of Monmouth County’s contract with Sequoia, which demonstrated some cost discrepancies.

Continue reading "The Voting Machines That Don't Add Up"

Posted by Annette Batson on May 12, 2006 at 09:01 AM
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daily dish
May  11

Defending Crisco

Img_0291_1As Baristanet commenters deduced, the sale of the first Crisco mansion was a bit premature (see comments for the back story). In our mailbox...

After reading all the comments about Christopher court I couldn't help but feel the need to defend it.    I (we) are working very hard and taking great pride in what we are doing here.   I apologize for lying on your site.   I acted on my own and my actions were not company sanctioned.   It was poor judgement on my part and I hope we can forget about this whole thing.


Greg Paoli
American Properties

All is forgiven. It takes a big man to do what you did. Good luck with your McMansions.

Posted by Liz George on May 11, 2006 at 04:05 PM
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Accident Or Foul Play?

Cbscarolyn Update: CBS news identified the victim of this story as Carolyn Everson and has an exclusive interview with her here

A tipster heard about a Montclair mom being taken to the hospital on the 11 o'clock news last night, and we found a report of the the scary events buried in today's NY Times:

An object that fell off a highway overpass broke the windshield of a car on a highway in Orange last night, slightly injuring the driver, the New Jersey State Police said.  Investigators have not determined whether the object, which was not recovered, was thrown or if it fell off the overpass of Interstate 280.  The victim, who lives in Montclair, was driving her Volkswagen Jetta near Exit 11B around 8:45 p.m. when the object pierced the windshield, and pieces of glass cut her face.  The woman who was able to stop the car safely, was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston.  While reports of objectos falling off overpasses are now rare, a State Police spokesman said that officers had received them daily before fences were put up on the overpasses a few years ago.

Posted by Annette Batson on May 11, 2006 at 02:30 PM
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Helping Andrew

Dscn2192They're not just hot, they're good guys, too.

Montclair’s bravest are holding a fundraiser to aid Andrew LoMonte, the son of fellow firefighter, Rich LoMonte. Andrew, left, who was born with several health problems and is now in need of a kidney transplant, is getting one from his mom Erika in June. A fundraiser, on Sunday, May 21, at 1:30 pm, at Just Jakes Restaurant, will help raise funds for the family. To read Andrew's inspiring story, click here.

After mother and son undergo operations in June, there will be hospital care and a lengthy recovery for both. The goal of the fundraiser is to help the defray the financial costs of caring for Andrew and allow Rich and Erika to concentrate on what’s most important, their son. Firefighters know how to throw a party -- the event ($20 admission; cash bar; children under 12, free) will feature live bands, food, raffle prizes and 50/50’s. If you can't make it, but wish to donate, please make checks payable to Andrew LoMonte and mail to P.O. BOX 1254, Bloomfield NJ 07003.

And if you are a merchant who would like to donate a prize, the firefighters need additonal items to be raffled off -- call firefighter Michael Lizza at 973-632-3833.

Posted by Liz George on May 11, 2006 at 01:00 PM
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Smoke, But No Fire

GrpoliceIn case you wondered what all the fire engine activity was at the corner of Ridgewood and Watchung in Glen Ridge this morning, Captain Byron of the GRPD said that an officer at the scene of an accident noticed smoke coming from the vents of his patrol car, and the fire department was called to assist. The officer believes the smoke was caused by an electrical problem.  Photo courtesy of Warren Levinson -- 9:30 am --

Posted by Annette Batson on May 11, 2006 at 11:57 AM
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Sound Familiar?

Dogs will no longer suffer the degradation of being sold to the highest bidder (although some pups may have enjoyed the attention and bragging rights...)

Phil Read grabs the ball tossed to him by Baristanet commenters who cried foul at the auctioning of dogs (something that's been done more than once in Baristaville) during a Junior League event.

Pup_1 Here's the comments that started it all...

They should have checked but I believe that auctioning off a live animal in NJ is against the law .

Posted by: JT | May 2, 2006 4:44:15 PM

Good cause or not, auctioning off animals is against the law, sort of. From the Star Ledger...

But seemingly lost in the bidding frenzy was this: Auctioning off animals -- canines included -- is viewed as a no-no by at least some legal experts in New Jersey.

"It's considered cruel. ... These aren't toys and shouldn't be treated like toys," said Sherry Ramsey, a Freehold attorney and former prosecutor who chairs the animal-law section of the New Jersey Bar Association.

Yesterday, though, the league said it would no longer use pets in its auctions.

"The Junior League of Montclair-Newark Inc. appreciates the concern of individuals who love animals as we do," the agency said in a statement. "While our licensed auction benefited a charitable cause -- children at risk -- we recognize the concerns which have been brought to our attention and, therefore, will not involve pets in any of our future fundraisers."

Continue reading "Sound Familiar?"

Posted by Liz George on May 11, 2006 at 10:40 AM
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Tamborini Plans Free Ride Program For Drinkers

Raymondtamborini_1Bloomfield Councilman Ray Tamborini, who recently plead guilty to driving while intoxicated, says he’s turning his lemons into lemonade.  Tamborini is spearheading a program for drinkers who have one too many from getting behind the wheel - by giving them a free ride home.  From the Independent Press:

He has already incorporated a non-profit service group called “LifeVEST,” which is an educational and deterrence group focused on impaired drivers.

Initially, LifeVEST will be a service organization which is geared toward keeping inebriated bar-goers from getting in their cars. Volunteers will be on-call with the “Safe-Rides” program, which will have a two-person team driving patrons home from establishments all over town. The backup plan is the “Go-Safe” plan, which provides participating restaurants and bars with vouchers for cab rides from local transportation companies. The “Red-Ribbon” program is another volunteer program by which any patron trained to be a volunteer driver can designate themselves as such by wearing a ribbon. On a night afterward, they are then compensated with chips for complimentary drinks.

Continue reading "Tamborini Plans Free Ride Program For Drinkers"

Posted by Annette Batson on May 11, 2006 at 10:30 AM
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Bloomfield Ave Traffic Nightmare

VanfireA tipster calls in to alert us that downtown Montclair, from Church Street and Bloomfield Ave and going east a couple blocks is currently closed off with a ton of police presence. We'll update as soon as we know more...

Update: 9:47 a.m.
Deputy Chief Perry Mayers tells us that a moving van, just packed up with a Wayside St. resident's personal belongings, caught fire . The tractor trailor and it entire contents were destroyed.  The van driver stopped after motorists started honking and pointing to the top of the van which was ablaze. The driver disconnected the trailor from the cab at Bloomfield and Gates.  The fire department appearedon the scene to extinguish the fire, blocking all lanes of Bloomfield Ave. After 20 minutes, westbound lanes were cleared and now one eastbound lane is open.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Posted by Liz George on May 11, 2006 at 09:18 AM
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Scrubs on Parade

Mountainside_protest_2_2About 50 docs, nurses, technicians and community members took took to the street in front of Mountainside Hospital Tuesday afternoon to clamor for local control of the hospital, which is up for sale with a Friday bidding deadline. Yesterday's protestors represented a local group of community members who want to buy the hospital from Atlantic Health Systems.

Mountainside's official PR people, meanwhile, used the opportunity to hand out a news release:

Continue reading "Scrubs on Parade"

Posted by Liz on May 11, 2006 at 09:00 AM
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daily dish
May  10

Bear in Transit

Reportedly a picture of the black bear that's been prowling Essex County, sent into us today by a reader in Clifton. We still don't have the name of the actual photographer. R.I.P.

Posted by Liz on May 10, 2006 at 03:29 PM
in The Daily Chat | E-mail this story | Permalink | Talk back to the Barista (41)

The Bear is Dead

This just in from the Associated Press: the bear is dead.

IRVINGTON, N.J. (AP) Moments before an animal control officer could subdue it with a tranquilizer gun Wednesday, a 300-pound black bear that had been wandering urban areas of north Jersey reared up on its hind legs and appeared ready to charge police officers, who then killed it with repeated shotgun blasts.

As police officers crouched nearby, seven loud shots rang out and the bear slumped to the ground in the small backyard where it had been cornered after two days of rambling east from the suburbs of Livingston to the inner cities of Newark and Irvington _ some of the most densely populated areas of the state.

The bear shooting came only days after a 225-pound bear was caught in downtown Trenton, prompting state biologists to kill it. It was the first time a bear had been killed as part of the state's no-tolerance policy to bruins in densely populated areas.

The bear killed in Irvington was the second.

Nervous police officers in Irvington had to chase three or four young children from nearby backyards, and were growing more worried that more than 1,000 neighborhood children would soon be walking home from school.

Jim Osorio, a Morristown animal control officer who had been called in to assist, was in position to shoot the bruin with a tranquilizer dart and was preparing to pull the trigger when it reared up on its hind legs and assumed an aggressive position, he said.

``We were going to tranquilize the animal and try to relocate him,'' he said. ``It did not happen that way. I tried to save the animal.''

But when the bear reared up, police had no choice but to kill it, said Osorio, who gave the order to shoot.

Posted by Liz on May 10, 2006 at 03:21 PM
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More on Yesterday's GSP Smashup

Today's New York Times details the crash that snarled traffic so badly on the Garden State Parkway during last evening's rush hour:

Continue reading "More on Yesterday's GSP Smashup"

Posted by Liz on May 10, 2006 at 02:30 PM
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What Do Mothers Want?

Mother's Day is coming Sunday, and chances are you're unprepared. Here, some last-minute gift ideas that just might win you points with the mother/wife on your list:

Pamper Her


What could be better than a hot stone massage at Harmony Day Spa? They let us try one for free, and though a massage fan, the Barista had never indulged in hot stone before. It felt like hot wax pouring down our back, in a good way. The atmosphere is elegant, clean and slightly New Age.

Options range from a 60-minute hot stone massage for $95 to a Mommy & Me package of two 60-minute Swedish massages, two facials, two paraffin hand and food treatments, with lunch, for $400.

The brand new day spa in Caldwell, which had to fight an ancient town ordinance against massage parlors, is holding an open house this weekend and giving out free chair massages and paraffin hand treatments. Saturday 2-5, Sunday 11-3. More information and directions here. Tell them you heard about them on Baristanet.

Continue reading "What Do Mothers Want?"

Posted by Liz on May 10, 2006 at 02:26 PM
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Bookish Things Tonight

There's always lots of fun for the literati in Baristaville, but tonight there's an embarrassment of riches:



Tonight, in honor of the 300th birthday of Ben Franklin, Glen Ridge Friends of the Library has two direct descendants of Franklin, including Mark Skousen, editor of a new Franklin autobiography. Birthday cake will be served in Franklin's honor. Business meeting at 7:30 pm, Franklin lecture at 8 pm in the Glen Ridge High School cafeteria. And at Watchung Booksellers, Anne Burt, editor of the recently-published collection of step-parent essays, "Your Father Married My Mother," will read from her book, along with essayists Alice Elliott Dark and Stephanie Stokes Oliver.

Posted by Liz on May 10, 2006 at 01:02 PM
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If You Dig It Up, Drain It, Then Sod It, They Will Come

We're seeing green again, finally, at Brookdale Park, where the $1 million drainage project appears to be entering its final stages. Industrial quantities of sod were being laid out and sprinkled, and even attracting an audience. At least it's not all plastic.

Posted by Liz on May 10, 2006 at 12:40 PM
in Seen around town | E-mail this story | Permalink | Talk back to the Barista (28)

Oh Sure, It's Funny Til the First Kid Gets Eaten

Yesterday's Livingston bear has made its way to Newark, exciting local radio journalists and giving new meaning to the name of this baseball franchise. According to our highly-sophisticated bear tracking technology, the bear swept well south of Baristaville overnight. But, having evaded police authorities so far, who knows whether we could be the venue of the next bear sighting. Baristanet will give $100 to anybody the first person who sends us an undoctored picture of the bear strolling through our local streets, or being taken down by law officers.

Why are black bears walking the mean streets of Newark? Hmmmm, maybe you should read this for some clues about the displacement of wildlife in the Jersey exurbs.

Posted by Liz on May 10, 2006 at 09:49 AM
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Introducing Mayor Booker

Booker1 Cory Booker won the Newark mayoral election yesterday in a landslide, gathering about 72 percent of the vote.

That's just slightly less good than his showing in our poll, which showed that mostly white, mostly affluent, mostly educated suburbanites preferred the 37-year-old Rhodes scholar to the symbol of entrenched cronyism by almost 9 to 1.

So now that that race is over with, it's time to start daydreaming about Senator Booker, or even President Booker, as the Barack Obama comparisons abound. From the AP:

Continue reading "Introducing Mayor Booker"

Posted by Liz on May 10, 2006 at 08:58 AM
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daily dish
May   9

Garden State Mess

A reader just wrote to report a closure on the Garden State Parkway in the vicinity of Watchung Ave., with re-routing of traffic onto Broad Street in Bloomfield. We picked this up off WCBS 880's website:


If you're planning to come back to Baristaville via the Parkway North, you might want to exit at 280, or earlier, to avoid the jam.

Posted by Liz on May 9, 2006 at 04:48 PM
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Bear Scare In Livingston

Njbear1Police have been cruising the residential neighborhoods of Livingston today warning people to stay inside their homes. Why? A black bear has been seen roaming the neighborhood since 6 a.m.  From ABC Eyewitness News:

The bear was first spotted roaming on Amherst Place near the Livingston High School complex just after 6:00 a.m. Dozens of police officers responded and began chasing the 200-pound animal as it moved through the largely residential area.
They pursued it first behind the Cedar Commons senior citizen building, and then to Shrewsbury and Tremont avenues. The officers continued tracking the animal and by 7:30 a.m., it was again spotted a mile away on the eastern end of the township.

The animal was tracked to an area west of Shrewsbury Drive, and that section near Interstate 280 was cordoned off as police officers and the animal control officer waited with a tranquilizer gun.

Meanwhile, authorities activated the reverse 911 to warn residents to stay inside their homes. Several were spotted dragging in their trash cans. Police hit the local streets, driving around the windy suburban roads to tell residents.

Obviously this lost animal wasn't told about the new zero tolerance rules for bears wandering urban streets in New Jersey, or that he entered a Bear Exclusion Zone.  Hopefully he won't suffer the same fate of this bear who wandered onto the city streets in Trenton last Saturday.

Posted by Annette Batson on May 9, 2006 at 03:20 PM
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Memorial Service Tonight For Lisa Strobert

A memorial service honoring Mt. Hebron teacher Lisa Strobert will take place  tonight. From the Montclair Times:

On Tuesday, May 9, 2006 at 7:00 p.m., a memorial service will take place at Mt.Hebron Middle School to honor the life of Lisa Strobert. The memorial will give members of the school and township community the opportunity to share thoughts and memories of Lisa. At the memorial, information about the "Love and Grace Scholarship Fund" will be provided. The fund is in memory of both Lisa Strobert and Gaetane Trevant-Collins, a Mt. Hebron teacher who passed away in March. For information, please contact Mt. Hebron teacher, Margaret Saraco at

Posted by Annette Batson on May 9, 2006 at 02:14 PM
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Very Vintage in Verona

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Montclair resident Colleen Connell has just given us another reason to shop: her new store, Vintage Alley, in Verona. It’s only been open six weeks and the sign isn’t up yet, but Colleen has a great variety of old and new retro style merchandise neatly on display. As eclectic as her collection is, she pointed out there is something for everyone. We liked browsing through the vintage look tees, cool furniture, lighting, housewares straight off the Austin Powers set, those seventies sun glasses, and a ton of other fun stuff. It’s the kind of place where you’re likely to find an item or two that brings back childhood memories. We found my mom’s chartreuse metal tray, hammered aluminum bowls, and the gold fondue pot.

Continue reading "Very Vintage in Verona"

Posted by Annette Batson on May 9, 2006 at 01:20 PM
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Down in the Mouth


A 19 1/2 minute independent film, produced by Montclair actress Cynthia Leigh Heim, had its first screening last night in New York. "Down in the Mouth," which is directed by Kirby Ward, has a bizarre but charmingly funny plot, and features a number of local actors: Sima Brason of Montclair, Barbara Folts of Bloomfield, Joseph LaFalce of Orange, Carl Pope of Montclair and Kyle SanGiovonni (Heim's husband), also of Montclair.  The assistant director, Greg Daniels, is from Bloomfield. To see a short video of Heim describing the plot, click here or check out the film's website.

To help the filmmakers finish production and speed its way to Sundance, Teluride, Tribeca and other festivals, send a tax-deductible donation to Film/Videoarts, 25 E. 21st St., 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10010 and write "Down in the Mouth" in the memo portion of the check.

Local knitters may recognize both Heim and Brason. Brason own Nouveau Knits and Heim also teaches classes there.

Posted by Liz on May 9, 2006 at 01:03 PM
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Homeless Man Found Dead In Bloomfield

A homeless man was found dead Sunday morning at 9 a.m. at the Bloomfield Green.  Police identified the man as Raymond Szczesny, 50, of Bloomfield.  He was found sitting on the ground, leaning on a park bench, an empty bottle of vodka nearby, said Captain Michael Behre of the Bloomfield Police.  He said that Szczesny was well known to police officers, that he was "a big drinker" who had recently taken to hanging around the Green. The homeless man had asked police to take him to the hospital several times in the past few months due to intoxication.  Captain Behre said officers responded to a call, found the lifeless man, and called the paramedics who were unable to revive him. There was no evidence of foul play. Police were unable to locate any of Szczesny's family members.

The grim scene was witnessed by a reader who sent us a description of the scene and her reflections.

Continue reading "Homeless Man Found Dead In Bloomfield "

Posted by Annette Batson on May 9, 2006 at 12:15 PM
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A New Mayor For Newark

Blainenewark004_1 Don't expect bicycle rides or other politics unusual today (sigh). Voters in Newark are at the polls choosing their next mayor - and for the first time in 20 years, it won't be Sharpe James. It's no Street Fight, but former councilman Cory Booker, who has a sizeable following in Baristaville, faces off with state senator and former deputy mayor Ronald L. Rice. Businessman David Blount,  and Socialist Worker's Party candidate Nancy Rosenstock are also on the ballot. Here's how the candidates spent the end of their respective campaigns. From The Star Ledger:

Booker spent most of the day in meetings and giving interviews to media members outside his Central Ward headquarters on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. He talked about the changes he plans to make in a city that has seen marked improvements in tBookersign2_1 he last 20 years but still struggles with basic issues such as safety and providing services to residents.

Rice dashed around the city and continued to characterize Booker as an inexperienced outsider who will be in debt to the campaign donors who gave him a record $6 million. Rice says he wrote many of the laws Booker wants to use to improve the city. Why not hire the man who wrote them? Rice has asked.

Posted by Annette Batson on May 9, 2006 at 10:32 AM
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Montclair School District Sued Over Student Discrimination

David Herron, president of the Montclair Chapter of the NAACP, claims his son, an eighth grader at Glenfield Middle School, was discriminated against and graded unfairly when the student took a standardized mid-term test. Herron filed suit in state Superior Court, accusing the district of discrimination and is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. From the Star Ledger:

In the lawsuit, Herron, who is the president of the Montclair chapter of the NAACP, said his 14 year old son was absent because of illness on Jan. 22, the day the standardized midterm test was administered to other students, and given the exam on Jan. 24 upon his return.

At that time, the lawsuit says, teacher Sharon Hurwich on three occasions told the student that he had one hour to take the test, even though the instructions stated two hours.

"Defendant Hurwich told plaintiff "JMH" that the other students had been given exactly the same amount of time; in fact, defendant Hurwich also stated to plaintiff that he was given more time than the other students," the lawsuit said.

Continue reading "Montclair School District Sued Over Student Discrimination"

Posted by Annette Batson on May 9, 2006 at 09:00 AM
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daily dish
May   8

Someone Alert the Media!

Mountainside Hospital will be the scene of a public demonstration tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday) at 4 pm, as Community Friends of Mountainside Hospital beckons the troops for a "Save Mountainside Hospital" support rally.

Doctors, nurses and employees and members of the community are urged to attend -- and, to make it good for the cameras, to wear scrubs, white doctor coats or work clothes.

May 12 is the deadline for suitors to step up and bid for the troubled hospital, now part of Atlantic Health Systems.

Posted by Liz on May 8, 2006 at 03:24 PM
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These Walls Can Talk

Everyone has something to say about Duryea Road, including the Meriney kids, who grew up in the home.

Dear Ms. Kristin Kenney,

Duryearoad_2Thank you for spearheading the formation of the Huestis House Preservation Friends.  As you know, we grew up in the historic house at 4 Duryea, also known as “Gray Gables”, and it is a very special house indeed.  We feel very lucky to have lived there from 1968 to 2006, and our family has many, many fond memories rooted in that house.  With its extraordinary stained glass windows, beautiful woodwork, many fireplaces, porches, hidden passageways and tower rooms, it is truly a remarkable landmark of Upper Montclair.

It is an understatement to say we were heartbroken to hear the realtor who bought the house is considering demolition.  Allowing the real estate agency who bought the Huestis house at 4 Duryea to destroy it would be absolutely scandalous, and from the standpoint of Upper Montclair’s allure, a true shame.  We agree with you that the surrounding neighborhoods and, for that matter, the town itself would be losing a significant landmark. What would happen if most of the large properties around town, such as the notable ones on Upper Mountain Avenue, were sold, the big, old houses demolished, and five to 10 new houses were put on each lot? Does this set a precedent for the demolition and development of other areas in Upper Montclair and Montclair? We can see it has happened already to the old Marlboro Inn. Is this the Montclair that people want to live in?

Continue reading "These Walls Can Talk"

Posted by Liz George on May 8, 2006 at 02:15 PM
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This Just In...

Anonymous, unconfirmed tip...

as I write this, BHS students are outside at their "safe havens" due to a bomb scare evacuation.  The kids don't know why they're outside -- over PA system came announcement to stop what you're doing and get out now.  No explanation.  Talked to one on the cell phone - he has no idea why they are out.  I spoke to a BOE member, that's how I know it's a bomb scare.

Posted by Liz George on May 8, 2006 at 01:07 PM
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Bloomfield Development Halted

Copecks2018Forest triumphs over condomania? The story from EcoRealty...

The five acres of pristine "forest" along Liongate Drive off of Broad Street, which the landowners Tilter Realty (Patty Copek and her sister Marie Ruvo), through their developer, DeSimone, dreamed of turning into another chock-full instant neighborhood, received a reprieve from falling under the developer's earthmovers.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection reviewed DeSimone's plans to
build 42 townhomes on a flood plain of Spring Brook and the Third River and denied him approval to build. We haven't received the formal letter detailing the reasons for the denial. We will pass it along when we get it.

Posted by Liz George on May 8, 2006 at 12:30 PM
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New Jersey: Screw The Slogan

Remember all the slogan talk? First in Montclair, and then the contest for the state's tag line. We were left with the uninspired "Come See For Yourself" which sounded more like a bad dare than anything else. Now even that's not going to happen. Seems New Jersey picked a slogan formerly associated with the state of West Virginia, a state that gets made fun of almost as much as New Jersey. From the New York Times...

We are proceeding without the slogan," Karen Wolfe, a spokeswoman for the state's Commerce, Economic Growth and Tourism Commission, was quoted as saying in The Press of Atlantic City's Saturday issue. "We will revisit the next steps at the end of the year."

Former Gov. Richard J. Codey unveiled the slogan with great fanfare at a January news conference, just days before he left office.

The slogan was the top choice among 11,227 telephone and online votes cast by residents for five final entries in a statewide contest.

But at an annual tourism conference in Cape May County more than a week ago, the slogan was absent from state promotional materials.

Tourism officials say West Virginia used the phrase in some previous promotions, but now uses "West Virginia: Wild and Wonderful."

The slogan resulted from Mr. Codey's appeal in October for ideas after he rejected a marketing company's proposal for which the state paid about $250,000. He said that slogan, "New Jersey: We'll Win You Over," was negative and reminded him of his own self-deprecating pitch when he asked girls out on dates.

Posted by Liz George on May 8, 2006 at 10:22 AM
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Touring Crisco

4crisco If you didn't give in to curiosity this weekend, here's what's behind the hulking Crisco McMansions.

Take the tour of 4 Christopher Court on Real Estate.

Posted by Liz George on May 8, 2006 at 09:08 AM
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daily dish
May   7


Christina_and_william He played football at Montclair High School. She played tennis. They traveled in different circles and never even thought about going out. Then years later, at a class reunion, Christina Joseph and William Robinson III met again. The story of the Montclair couple's slow but steady courtship -- which started after she turned down nine dinner invitations but finally accepted an invitation to breakfast at Bluestone Coffee -- is over at the New York Times website. You have to register to see it, but it's free.

Posted by Liz on May 7, 2006 at 08:59 AM
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House Party

In addition to Crisco, there are loads of other open houses today, including one for $2,000,000 on Inwood Ave, and this stunner above (get a load of the master) at 92 Union. For the list, go to Real Estate.

Posted by Liz George on May 7, 2006 at 08:32 AM
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