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June  30

One Big Error and Lots of Praise

It seems astounding to us, but the reason the Montclair Town Council couldn't go forward tonight with its second reading and public hearing on the ordinance to declare the Marlboro Inn a historic landmark was because somebody forget to send notices to the homeowners within 200 feet of the inn. Turns out the whole thing was not strictly legal so they had to start from scratch.

That doesn't seem to be the only snafu. Outgoing mayor Robert Russo said he showed up for a planning board meeting on Monday night only to find a sign saying that it had been cancelled.

The Barista passed up a chance to attend the Yankees-Boston game tonight in order to go hear all the ruckus on the Marlboro Inn. But was there ruckus? Noooooooo. The only people who spoke came to praise the outgoing members of the town council.

And the Yankees won, too.

The new council will be sworn in Thursday at noon, which is when the new Marlboro Inn ordinance will be read. The new public hearing will be July 13.

We caught up with incoming the incoming mayor, Ed Remsen, at the firehouse dedication earlier and asked about the little mistake. After all, it seems like there's a race for time, as developer Steven Plofker has applied to demolish the inn. Now, it's two more weeks before an ordinance could be passed. Not to worry, Remsen said. Apparently, Plofker has so many hoops to jump through before he gets his permit that the town has time to recover from its error. Of course it's still up in the air how the new council will vote on the inn issue.

Interesting, though, that Plofker remembered to do his paperwork.

June 30, 2004 in Controversy, Marlboro Inn | Permalink | Comments (1)

Everything But the Pole



Lt. Ken Mercadante took a break from polishing up the glass doors on the new Montclair fire headquarters to give the Barista a sneak preview of the building, which has its grand opening at a ceremony tonight at 6. The $5.2 million, 22,000 square foot facility took two years to build and replaces the old fire headquarters and the Walnut Street station.

In addition to the ribbon cutting, firefighters were cooking up a storm (we saw lots of sausage and peppers) and they're going to give tours of the building. On display is a room full of memoribilia from the Montclair Fire Department, including photos, old hats, uniforms, relay equipment and firehouse bells.

The only thing the new firehouse doesn't feature is a pole. (Darn!) All the dormitories are on the first floor.

June 30, 2004 in Civic Virtue | Permalink | Comments (4)

This Just In

Thanks to our friend Raymmmondo of the Montclair Watercooler, we've learned that the public hearing on the Marlboro Inn, scheduled for tonight, has been cancelled. The following statement comes from Township Manager Joseph Hartnett:

Due to a procedural deficiency, the Council is going to have to withdraw the Marlboro Inn ordinance tonight.

As a result, the public hearing scheduled for tonight will be cancelled and the public will not have an opportunity to speak. The plan is to submit a new ordinance to Council tomorrow for first reading and have a second reading and new public hearing on or before July 16th.

Hartnett was not available to tell us what the procedural deficiency was that led to the 11th-hour cancellation. And it's anybody's speculation how the delay in timing will play out with Steve Plofker's demolition permit already filed. But the Barista wouldn't be surprised if the bulldozer beat the council.

Scarecrow: Keep us informed, ok?

June 30, 2004 in Controversy, Marlboro Inn | Permalink | Comments (3)

Yankee Doodle Dandy

flags_in_bloomfield And speaking of fireworks, go here for a calendar of Independence Day events in Montclair, Glen Ridge and Bloomfield.

June 30, 2004 in Our Favorite Diversions | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fireworks Expected Early

As the scarecrow reminds you, tonight's the public hearing on the Township of Montclair's proposed ordinance declaring the Marlboro Inn historic. Developer Steve Plofker, meanwhile, has applied for a permit to demolish the inn. Fireworks are expected. The Barista will be there. 8 pm. Montclair Town Hall.

June 30, 2004 in Controversy, Marlboro Inn | Permalink | Comments (6)

daily dish

June  29

Early Warning System

We told you she'd let us know if anything was happening.

June 29, 2004 in Controversy, Marlboro Inn | Permalink | Comments (1)

Brookdale Park Beach Golf Course


Brookdale Park seemed eerily quiet today, giving us the impression that everybody was either at camp or at a pool. Then we noticed someone using the park as his personal beach, and saw some golf lessons going on near the baseball diamonds.

June 29, 2004 in Seen around town | Permalink | Comments (0)


The Barista has to admire someone who starts an anti-leaf-blower campaign in the summer. But then Sierra Club activist Pat Kenschaft had a bad run-in with a leaf blower the other day. She wrote about it on the Montclair Watercooler.

My husband and I were walking down our block toward the park when he burst into uncontollable sneezing. He gasped, "Wasn't there just a leaf blower here?" Yes, about ten minutes ago. We got through the cloud of residual dust, and he was fine, despite his allergies, in the park. Are the people blowing up public dust doing so JUST to harm people like my husband by blowing allergens into the air or is there some other motive?

She's holding a meeting tonight to get the darned things banned, but you have to contact her to find out where and get the secret password. After all, you wouldn't want to be holding a leaf-blower banning meeting and have some horticultural SWAT team armed with Toro Blower-VaCs showing up in your living room. It could wreak havoc on the drapes.

Meanwhile, read Pat's wonderful diatribe on leaf blowers here, which includes, in the Barista's opinion, the best sentence ever written in the English language.

It will be difficult, perhaps impossible, to numerically evaluate how much mental illness is caused by leafblowers or how many tottering marriages fell into divorce because the spouses were irritated by leaf blower noise.

June 29, 2004 in Controversy | Permalink | Comments (6)

daily dish

June  28

'Watson, Come Here. I Want You.'

bush_and_chips In a scene that was somewhat reminscent of the first days of the telephone, 56 local and not-so-local liberals showed up at Luna Stage tonight to hear filmmaker Michael Moore via internet transmission at a "Turn Up the Heat" party. The event was one of 3,000 being held nationwide and at least three held in Montclair, and was organized by the anti-Bush group, moveon.org.

The technology was impressive, except when it wasn't. On the plus side, there was a map that showed great big white dots representing "Turn Up the Heat" parties and listing the numbers of participants.And the set-up allowed people to send text questions to Moore. On the minus side, a Moveon.org slide show prepared for the event wouldn't play. And the lib-erati had to content itself with looking at the interactive map, rather the gargantuan Moore himself, during his talk.

The technological glitches didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd, which included people from Pompton Lakes, Westwood, Roseland, Roselle -- and even a visitor from Hong Kong. The room roared with delight when Moore told them that his movie, "Fahrenheit 9/11," was not just the #1 movie this past weekend, but the #1 movie in all the red states. Take that, Mel Gibson... I mean, George Bush.

crowdAfter Moore's talk, moveon.org recruited people to run telephone parties on July 11th to sign up unregistered voters. The party was hosted by local actor Michael Aquino, who rented the room from Luna Stage.

June 28, 2004 in Controversy | Permalink | Comments (3)

¿Cómo se Dice....Soft Touch?

The Barista just signed up to host a Spanish exchange student for two weeks, starting Wednesday. She's a dancer and an actress, so we know she'll fit in with our own theatrical gang. Plus, we can always use an extra hand blowing up Barista beach balls and balloons for Independence Day.

The agency sponsoring her, Academic Adventures, is desperately looking for more host families for a crew of Spanish and Italian teenagers arriving the same day. If your taste runs more to French boys, there'll be a batch of them arriving July 11th. Call Barbara Bigos 908.686.2709.

June 28, 2004 in Civic Virtue | Permalink | Comments (2)

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