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July  31

Celebrating the Celebrants

The Celebrant USA Foundation, headquartered in Montclair, gets a nice write-up in the Jersey section of tomorrow's New York Times (which home-delivery subscribers get on Saturday).

The Celebrants provide civil ceremonies for people whose celebration needs might otherwise fall through the cracks: mixed-religion marriages, same-gender commitment ceremonies -- even divorce and downsizing ceremonies. The Celebrant movement started in Australia in the 1970's and was imported to the US three years ago by Montclair residents Gaile and Pat Sarma and Charlotte Eulette.

For another take on the Celebrants, go listen to a public radio piece the Barista did on the organization, which aired last December. (When you get to the page scroll down.)

July 31, 2004 in Buzz | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stage Mom Edition
Perhaps we are not 100 percent objective, but last night's production of Les Miserable at the Passaic Valley Summer Theater was -- what's the word? oh yes -- great.

Passaic Valley Summer Theater, traditionally a co-production of the drama clubs of Passaic Valley High School and Glen Ridge High School, actually drew talent from six local schools this year, including Bloomfield High School. Because the cast drew the top talent from such a wide area -- and with the involvement of three directors, Jeff Budd of Little Falls and Darren Gage and James Millar of Glen Ridge -- the show exceeded the standards of a typical high school musical. And with a revolving barricade and everything!

Matt Storm, who graduated from Bloomfield High School in June, starred as Jean Valjean. Glen Ridge High School graduates Brian Baskin and Emily Deptula were hilarious as Thenardier and Mme. Thenardier. Noah Levinson and Cary Gsell of Glen Ridge, the youngest members of the cast at age 12, share the role of Gavroch (Noah on Friday night and Sunday, Cary on Saturday).

Other local talent from Glen Ridge: Scott Pendergrass, Matt Frew, Jed Lubin, Jeremy Abramson, Greg Hernandez, Margot Levinson, Jesse Cohen and Emily Tumbleson. From Bloomfield: Gary Meffettone and Nicole Spiezio.

Other high schools represented were Passaic Valley High School, Verona High School, Columbia High School and West Orange High School.

July 31, 2004 in Footlights | Permalink | Comments (5)

daily dish

July  30

Poetry Slam Online

Message boards, whether of the Yahoo variety or the NJ.com type, are known for lots of bickering and, well, even flaming about issues great and small. If you go to Montclair Unmoderated on most days (and particularly if you went right after Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" came out), you'd hear political discourse of the "Jane, you ignorant slut" variety. But on Fridays, a more civilized form of discourse prevails....

As Montclair iconoclast Jerry Mosier wrote today: "It's Friday - it's poetry time - put away your polemics." Mosier's offering this Friday, "When You are Old," by W.B. Yeats.

Nobody's sure just how long this has been going on, but it's become a cornerstone of this online community."I can't recall how it started, but it may very well have been as a peace-making gesture," says Montclair writer Martin Golan, another regular, whose posted "The Wild Swan" by Robinson Jeffers today.

"The weekly poems are a lovely counterpoint to our battles over politics and religion, a reminder of how much we have in common, " says Golan. "And that, come what may, there is still much beauty in the world, if we only pause to take it in."

July 30, 2004 in Seen in Cyberspace | Permalink | Comments (3)

A Revolt in the Making

A group of local political leaders met last night at the Office restaurant in Montclair to discuss ways to radically change the structure of county government in Essex County.

Calling itself the Committee to Change County Government, the group is trying to put a question on the ballot in 2005 that would change Essex County's form of government from a county executive model to something else.

Since adopting a county executive form of government in Essex County, "almost every county executive has gone to jail," said Kevin Lee Allen, a leader in the group and one of the forces behind putting a secession question on Montclair's ballot last year.

Allen said he has sent a number of letters to the county clerk asking about the new ballot question, but has received no response.

"We don't get calls returned. We don't get letters returned," he said. "You'd think for the $26 million we send to the county, we should maybe get a postcard." Allen was referring to Montclair's $26 million tax bill from Essex County.

The meeting was attended by Montclair mayor Ed Remsen, Glen Ridge mayor Carl Bergmanson (also co-founder of Barista), Millburn deputy mayor Sal Bate, former Montclair councilman Don Zief, Roseland councilman Rich Leonard, county freeholder Muriel Shore and Candy Straight, who ran unsuccessfully for county executive last year.

In addition to changing the form of government in Essex County, the group wants the state to consider whether it needs county government at all.

"We're looking to vet candidates for governor," Allen said.

The movement, like the county secession movement that's been broiling in Essex for the past few years, is essentially a taxpayer revolt.

"I'm just sick of paying taxes," Allen said. "We're sending $26 million to the county this year. What do we get?"

July 30, 2004 in Controversy | Permalink | Comments (16)

Short Stop Protests

Bloomfield's Town Council received a sheaf of petitions this week protesting the conversion of the abandoned Short Stop Diner into a Dunkin' Donuts. The 55 petitions all said the same thing: "Please add my name to the list of citizens who oppose a Dunkin' Donuts on Franklin Street at the Short Stop location."

Acting township manager Louise Palagano says that the petitions come too late because the decision's already been made. The only remedy for opponents of the plan, she said, would be legal action.

July 30, 2004 in Controversy | Permalink | Comments (0)

daily dish

July  29

Kerry Block Parties

kerry_house_parties Our most recent weekly poll revealed that 60 percent of Barista readers are Democrats. Not exactly a surprise. That's also the way our mail is running. We've heard word of two Kerry house parties this week: a block party tonight on Lowell Terrace in Bloomfield to listen to Kerry's acceptance speech, and a barbecue/fundraiser on Orange Road in Montclair coming up on Saturday. Look here for more info on Kerry parties in the neighborhood.

July 29, 2004 in Parties We Crashed | Permalink | Comments (0)

Three Little Kittens

archylogo_2What's it take to get rid of some kittens? Our friend Kirsten's been trying for a couple weeks to give some away for free, but no luck.

It reminds us of that old Archy and Mehitabel verse "Mehitabel and Her Kittens."

well boss
mehitabel the cat
has reappeared in her old
haunts with a
flock of kittens
three of them this time

archy she says to me
the life of a female
artist is continually
hampered what in hell
have i done to deserve
all these kittens

i look back on my life
and it seems to me to be
just one damned kitten
after another
i am a dancer archy
and my only prayer
is to be allowed
to give my best to my art
but just as i feel
that i am succeeding
in my life work
along comes another batch
of these damned kittens

Well, you have to read the rest of the poem to find out what happen to those kittens, but these ones are still up for grabs. Write Kirsten.

July 29, 2004 in Cute as Hell | Permalink | Comments (1)

5, 6, 7, 8, 44, 45

Do these numbers sound familiar to anybody?

Two people in New Jersey entered these winning numbers in the state's Pick Six lotto on July 22 and are entitled to share a $15 million prize. According to this post on NJ.com Bloomfield Forum, there's a new $15 million lottery winner in Bloomfield. The New Jersey Lottery hasn't announced the winners of the Pick Six lotto yet, but they told us that one of the winners has contacted them and that there will be an announcement next week.

One ticket was purchased in Ocean County, the other in Hunterdon.

July 29, 2004 in Buzz | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday Morning Photo Roundup

witness_protection_program_2Carpooling just got more interesting. Click for closeup.

lincoln_rd_closureWater main installation in Glen Ridge will close Lincoln St. between Hamilton Rd. and Ridgewood Ave. (during the day) for about two weeks.

baby_out_with_the_bathwater_2Throwing the baby (seat) out with the bathwater?

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

daily dish

July  28

'Y' Deals with Accident

The Montclair YMCA has invited parents of children in their Milford Lake day camp to a counselling session tonight. The counsellor will field questions and advise the parents how they should speak to their kids about the school bus accident Monday, which took the life of a 31-year-old pregnant woman in another vehicle. None of the children on the bus sustained major injuries.

Tom Boynton, president of the Y, attended a session last night for senior staff. "If the children are talking about it, you don't want to stop them from talking about it," he said. "But you don't want to make it larger than it is, either."

The meeting will be at 7:30 pm and is not open to the media.

July 28, 2004 in Sirens | Permalink | Comments (0)

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