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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Photo of the Day 11/30/14


This photo shows a gaslight in South Orange with the Newark and New York skylines in the distance.

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Holiday Open House Starts Thursday at Greenwood Gardens


The second annual Holiday Open House will take place at Greenwood Gardens in Short Hills from Thursday, December 4 to Sunday, December 7. Rooms inside of the main house will be decorated for the season with greens and flowers by the Short Hills Home Garden Club, the Rolling Hills Garden Club, and the Short Hills Garden Club. A Holiday Boutique will be set up inside the house, selling a variety of gifts, including cotton ornaments. Warm cider will be served,

The property will be open from 10:00am to 4:00pm on these days. Admission is $5, and is free for children under 12 and members. Greenwood Gardens is located within Old Short Hills Park at 274 Old Short Hills Road. 

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Orange Mayor Hosts Restaurant Tour


Orange Mayor Dwayne D. Warren's 'Taste of Orange Mayor's Restaurant Tour' will continue in December at multiple Orange eateries. According to a post by Mayor Warren on the city Facebook page, the tour was "created to draw attention to our City’s diverse restaurant scene". 

The tour started this month at Sandwiches Unlimited, Ken's Coffee Shop, and Mama Lola BBQ Restaurant.

Upcoming stops on the tour are as follows:

Monday, December 1, 2014 
-1:00 PM - Lunch 
Bella Italia at 535 Central Avenue 
-5:00 PM - Dinner 
Singh's Roti Shop at 177 South Essex Avenue 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 
-9:00 AM - Breakfast 
Dunkin Donuts at 529 Main Street 
-12:30 PM - Lunch 
Just Like Nona's at 130 Lincoln Avenue 

Friday, December 5, 2014 
-5:30 PM - Dinner 
Divine Soul Café at 661 Scotland Road

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Tour Historic Essex Homes on December 6 and 7


The annual Essex County Historic Holiday House Tour will take place on Saturday, December 6 and Sunday, December 7. Most properties will be decorated for the holidays, and many will offer tours and refreshments to visitors. The following properties will be open to the public during the house tour:

Ballantine House (within Newark Museum)
49 Washington Street, Newark
Open 12pm to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday
Suggested admission is $12 for adults and $7 for children, seniors and students. Free admission for city residents.

Canfield-Morgan House & Museum
903 Pompton Avenue/Route 23, Cedar Grove
Open 2pm to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday
Free Admission

Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart
89 Ridge Street, Newark
Open 2pm to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday
Free Admission

Charles Schultz House (Evergreens)
30 North Mountain Avenue, Montclair
Open 1pm to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday
Free Admission

Crane House and Historic YWCA
110 Orange Road, Montclair
Open 1pm to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday
Free Admission

Force Homestead
366 South Livingston Avenue, Livingston
Open 2pm to 4pm on Sunday
Free Admission

Glenmont - Thomas Edison National Historical Park
37 Honeysuckle Avenue, Llewellyn Park, West Orange
Open 11am to 3pm, Saturday and Sunday
Tickets are $7 per person, free for children under 16
Note: Tickets must be purchased first at laboratory complex, located at 211 Main Street

Greenwood Gardens
274 Old Short Hills Road, Short Hills
Open 10am to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday
Admission is $5 per person, free for children under 12

Grover Cleveland's Birthplace
207 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell
Open 10am to 4pm on Saturday, 1pm to 4pm on Sunday
Free Admission

Kingsland Manor
3 Kingsland Street, Nutley
Open 1pm to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday
Admission by Donation

Kip's Castle
22 Crestmont Road, Verona
Open 12pm to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday
Free Admission

The Salvatorian Fathers
23 Crestmont Road, Verona (within Kip's Castle Park)
Open 1pm to 3pm on Sunday
Admission by Donation

Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center (Oakes Mansion)
240 Belleville Avenue, Bloomfield
Open 12pm to 4pm on Saturday
Free Admission

Walther House at Essex County Presby Memorial Iris Gardens
474 Upper Mountain Avenue, Upper Montclair
Open 10am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday
Free Admission

Zenas Crane Homestead
289 Westville Avenue, West Caldwell
Open 12pm to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday
Free Admission

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Friday, November 28, 2014

Photo of the Day 11/28/14


This photo shows a different perspective of a gaslight in South Orange.

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West Orange Holiday Open House to Feature Trolley Tours, Craft Show


A Holiday Open House will take place in Downtown West Orange on Saturday, December 6. The day will start with a Breakfast with Santa at Our Lady Of Lourdes Church at 1 Eagle Rock Avenue from 9:00am to 10:30am. The cost is $10.00 per family, and includes pictures with Santa. The breakfast is sponsored by the Unconditional Love Christian Fellowship Church. Reservations are recommended, and can be made by sending an email to JensenRoyJ@gmail.com or calling 862-216-8424.

From 10:00am to 4:00pm, a Holiday Winter Bazaar and Craft Show will take place at the West Orange Community House, located at 242 Main Street. Over 25 crafters, artists, and retailers will have booths at the craft show. Admission to the bazaar is free. In addition, guided trolley tours of West Orange will run on the hour from 11:00am to 4:00pm. Riders will visit Llewellyn Park, Main Street, and Eagle Rock and learn more about the history of each place. The tours will be provided by Mayor Robert Parisi, Terry Jung of Thomas Edison National Historial Park, township historian Joe Fagan, and members of the West Orange Township Council. The tours are free, and start at the West Orange Community House. Reservations are recommended, and can be made here.

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Downtown Newark to Celebrate Winterfest


The first annual Winterfest will take place throughout December in Downtown Newark. The festivities will start on Monday, December 1 at Championship Plaza outside of the Prudential Center. On that day, Mayor Ras J. Baraka will conduct a ceremonial lighting of the 40 foot tree at the plaza at 4:45pm. At 5:00pm, there will be live holiday music from the Special Ensemble, an award winning youth performance group. The Special Ensemble will also perform on December 13 at 4:30pm.

On December 4, 11, 13, and 18, horse and carriage rides through Downtown will be open to the public. Tickets are $5 and are free for children ages 12 and under who ride with an adult. The horse and carriage will run from Championship Plaza to NJPAC and return using Mulberry Street. Also on those days, visitors can shop for holiday merchandise at the Winterfest Marketplace at Championship Plaza.

In addition, during December, Fan Fests before New Jersey Devils home games will feature a variety of activities and giveaways.

Winterfest is presented by the Newark Downtown District and the Prudential Center. Click here to learn more.


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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Springfield Avenue Holiday Celebration Scheduled for December 7


The second annual Springfield Avenue Holiday Celebration will take place on Sunday, December 7 at the Springfield Avenue Gazebo starting at 3:30pm. The celebration will feature live music from Bruno Lee and Friends, storytelling for kids, refreshments, pictures with Santa, and lightings of the tree, menorah, and kinara. The gazebo is located next to the Hilton Branch of the Maplewood Memorial Library at the corner of Springfield Avenue and Tuscan Road. The event is sponsored by the Park Wood Diner and presented by the Maplewood Recreation Department and the Springfield Avenue Partnership.

In addition, Springfield Avenue will also take part in Small Business Saturday on November 29. Businesses that line the avenue will offer discounts to visitors. The full list of participating businesses from the Springfield Avenue Partnership is below.


Click here to learn more.

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Photo of the Day 11/27/14


Several inches of snow fell in parts of Essex County yesterday. This photo was taken on South Ridgewood Road in South Orange.

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Belleville Tree Lighting on December 6


Belleville High School will be the place to be on Saturday, December 6. The school is hosting Belleville Township's Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony from 6:00pm to 8:30pm. In addition to the tree lighting, there will be music, free refreshments, food vendors, pictures with Santa, trackless train rides, horse and carriage rides, a gift show, and a Holiday flea market. The festivities are presented by the Belleville Recreation Department.

Belleville High School is located at 100 Passaic Avenue. The event is free and open to the public.

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West Orange Chamber Scavenger Hunt Ends December 3


The deadline for the West Orange Chamber of Commerce Scavenger Hunt has been extended to December 3. Those interested in winning a prize must answer all of the questions about West Orange business trivia on the Chamber of Commerce website correctly. Questions range from "What are the pool hours at JCC MetroWest on Tuesdays?" to "Where are Jordan Baris Realtors offices located?" and "How many actual flavors are available at Mark & Julie’s Ice Cream?"

The winners will be selected randomly, and will be announced at the West Orange Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, December 5. The scavenger hunt is free to enter, and participants must be 18 years old or older. Only one entry per person is permitted.

Scavenger Hunt

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Photos: Snowfall Hits Essex County


(As of 1:30pm) Several inches of snow has fallen in Essex County so far today, and more snowfall is expected. Reports from the National Weather Service indicate that West Essex will be most affected, with 6.6 inches expected in Fairfield and 6.2 inches expected in Livingston. 5.8 inches of snow is expected to fall in South Orange, 5 inches in Newark, and 5.5 inches in Nutley.

In Essex County, New Jersey Transit is cross honoring tickets with PATH trains and local Coach USA bus routes 24, 31, and 44.








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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Irvington Avenue to Host Holiday Festival


South Orange will have another place to celebrate the holiday season this year. On Friday, December 12 from 5:30pm to 8:30pm, Irvington Avenue will host "Light Up the Holidays". Scheduled activities include the first annual Irvington Avenue holiday tree lighting, pictures with Santa, crafts for kids, live music, refreshments, and specials at Irvington Avenue restaurants. All activities will take place at the corner of Irvington and West Fairview Avenues. 

The celebration is presented by the Village of South Orange, the Seton Hall University Student Government Association, and the Irvington Avenue Corridor Advisory Committee (IACAC).

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Columbia HS Students Walk Out of Class to Protest MO Grand Jury Decision


Dozens of students at Columbia High School in Maplewood walked out of the building this morning to protest the decision by a St. Louis County, Missouri grand jury not to indict Ferguson city police officer Darren Wilson on charges relating to the death of Michael Brown.

The walkout took place during the reading of the Pledge of Allegiance at approximately 9:10am. Students protested nonviolently in front of the Parker Avenue school for several minutes before reentering the building and marching in the hallways. CHS principal Elizabeth Aaron made an announcement to students and staff members at 9:43am asking students to "please return to (their) period 3 classes". Aaron also asked teachers to step out into the hallways to supervise.

Multiple student walkouts have taken place in the South Orange Maplewood School District in recent years. In 2012, South Orange Middle School students walked out of class to protest the decision made by school officials not to give tenure to two teachers. In 2010, students at CHS walked out to protest Governor Chris Christie's proposed budget cuts to education.

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File photo of Columbia HS

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Photo of the Day 11/22/14


This photo shows the Dickens Village in Maplewood, which was set up this week for the holiday season.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

The Soup Cafe Opens in South Orange


A new restaurant has opened in the South Orange Village Center. The Soup Cafe opened Friday morning at the former Eclectic Cafe and Catering space at 61 Academy Street, next to Harusame Japanese CuisineThe Soup Cafe serves a variety of Carribean style soups and sandwiches made to order including Smoky Jerk Chicken and Manish Water. 

"The inspiration for The Soup Cafe comes from the genuine love of the world's most beloved comfort food, soup", said manager Nadia Dale. "Our team worked for months on a unique concept for our cafe and came up with perfect combination of authentic Caribbean and Classic American soups".

The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 11:00am to 4:00pm. 

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Photo of the Day 11/21/14


This photo shows a pigeon along the Rahway River East Branch in South Orange.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Photo of the Day 11/18/14


This photo shows Memorial Park in Maplewood.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Signs Removed at Former JAC Shelter


Signs for the former Jersey Animal Coalition (JAC) shelter in South Orange were recently removed, including on the Department of Public Works driveway and on Walton Road. 

When PlaceNJ.com visited the shelter on November 12, a sign was posted on the front door reading "Our shelter is now closed. All animals formerly in the shelter are safe and have been placed in caring homes/facilities", adding that "our security cameras are in operation and Police Department has been advised". However, the sign was removed as of the following day.

The JAC moved out of the building on November 11th after occupying the building for nearly 10 years. Adoptions were concluded in October.

Representatives from the Village of South Orange and Jersey Animal Coalition did not respond to our requests for comment.

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Photo of the Day 11/17/14


This photo shows the start of Midland Boulevard in Maplewood.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Photo of the Day 11/13/14



This photo shows fog in Maplewood on Wednesday morning.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Updated: Columbia HS Principal Criticizes Media Coverage of Alleged Criminal Activities


The principal of Columbia High School criticized the media coverage of recent alleged criminal activities at the Maplewood school. In an interview today with Essex County Place, Elizabeth Aaron said that reporters "can be distracting and disruptive to students". Aaron added that she was "not really surprised" by media attention because she feels that news organizations cover "stuff they think will get the most attention".


A 17 year old student was arrested on Monday for allegedly bringing brass knuckles inside the school. CHS was on 'Code Red' lockdown for nearly two hours that day after a staff member reportedly called the Maplewood Police Department claiming that a weapon was present in the school. An 18 year old former student was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly trespassing on school property.


In September, a Language Arts teacher at the school was arrested for allegedly having sex with five of her students. Nicole Dufault, of Caldwell, was employed by the South Orange Maplewood School District for nine years. She was released from the Essex County Correctional Facility in October after her $500,000 bail was posted and is awaiting trial.


Regarding Monday's lockdown, Aaron said that she was "very impressed with the students and staff". She felt, however, that parents who arrived outside of the high school while the lockdown was taking place "made it difficult". 


"I understand the parental desire", she noted, but cautioned that "in an emergency, it can be a hamper instead of a help".

When asked about her opinion on whether metal detectors should be installed at CHS, Aaron responded that she is "100% opposed" to the idea.

"I believe in creating and sustaining a school culture that is open, supportive, nurturing and challenging for students", said Aaron. "I don’t think the presence of metal detectors supports that culture".

Overall, Aaron said that the lockdown "helped us to further understand how to manage emergencies".


Top Photo: News vans occupied the streets surrounding CHS after the arrest of teacher Nicole Dufault in September.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

CHS Security Supervisor: "Response was Excellent"


The Columbia High School security supervisor told Essex County Place that the response to Monday's lockdown by security officers from U.S. Security Associates was "excellent". 

The Maplewood school was under 'Code Red' lockdown for one hour and 40 minutes after a staff member called the Maplewood Police Department to report that a weapon was present in the building. A student was later arrested in a classroom for allegedly bringing brass knuckles to school, and an 18 year old man was charged with trespassing.

"I hate that it happened, but the response was excellent", said the supervisor, who declined to give his name. He explained that all school security officers are state licensed, and train on school breaks at the U.S. Security Associates office in Clifton. He added that school security officers meet regularly with school administrators to prepare for situations such as this. 

The supervisor also noted that when the lockdown alarm was activated, students inside the building did "an excellent job" clearing the hallways. However, he felt that students and parents outside of CHS should have followed instructions to keep away from the building.

U.S. Security Associates is contracted by the South Orange Maplewood School District for uniformed security management at CHS. 

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Photo of the Day 11/11/14


This photo shows the Maplewood Veterans Memorial outside of the Municipal Building.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Lockdown Concluded at Columbia High School, Student Arrested


Update 7:51pm: 
Columbia High School in Maplewood was on code red lockdown today for nearly two hours. According to Maplewood Police Chief Robert Cimino, a student was arrested in a classroom for allegedly bringing brass knuckles to school. At a press conference, Chief Cimino said that a CHS staff member called police at approximately 12:30pm to report that a weapon was present in the school.

Chief Cimino added that there was "great cooperation of the students...(and)...great cooperation of the staff".


A lockdown alarm was activated in the school at approximately 12:40pm. The school remained in lockdown until 2:20pm. There were no reported injuries.


Acting Superintendent James Memoli sent an email to parents at approximately 5:00pm. "The safety of our staff and students remains our first priority", said Memoli.


According to a press release from the Maplewood Police Department, "anyone with information on the incident is urged to contact the Maplewood Police Department Youth Aid Bureau at 973-762-3400".




---

Update 2:21pm: Lockdown has concluded. 

At approximately 2:20pm,  a Maplewood Police lieutenant told students and staff that the "lockdown is officially over".


At least one student is rumored to be in custody.


Healy told staff members that there would be an emergency meeting after school.

---




Update 2:10pm: Columbia High School in Maplewood is under Code Red lockdown. A lockdown alarm went off in the school at approximately 12:41pm. Assistant Principal Michael Healy informed students that this is an "Active Shooter" lockdown.  

The alarm sounded for at least ten minutes.


South Orange and Maplewood Police conducted a security sweep of the building. Healy announced to students that there are 12 teams of officers. Officers entered classrooms at approximately 1:20pm and asked students and staff to remain in their classrooms. As of 1:49pm. Healy asked students and staff to remain in their classrooms until police officers unlock the classroom door. 


"Please stay in place", Assistant Principal Charles Ezell announced to students at approximately 1:30pm, adding that "everything is okay".  


The alarm went off during Period 7, which is a lunch period at the school. Several students were outside of the building when the siren sounded. CHS does not normally conduct lockdown drills during lunch periods.


As on 1:25pm: Columbia High School in Maplewood is under Code Red lockdown. A lockdown alarm went off in the school at approximately 12:41pm. PlaceNJ.com will continue to report live from inside the building.


---

 
Acting Superintendent James Memoli sent the following email to parents during the lockdown:

A code red “lockdown” was ordered this afternoon at Columbia High School by the Maplewood Police Department as a precautionary measure.  All students are safe and everything is under control.  Additional details will be provided as soon as they are available.
 



---


Email from Acting Superintendent James Memoli after the lockdown:


Shortly before 1 p.m. today, a code red “lockdown” was ordered at Columbia High School. High school administration had been informed of a potential threat involving a CHS student and a former CHS student possibly involving weapons. The administration notified the Maplewood Police who then initiated the code red as a precautionary measure. South Orange Police were onsite to assist. The police conducted an organized search of the building and one student was apprehended. The police continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding this event. Code red procedures were followed with police going door to door to check all rooms before clearing the code red. Many students were outside the school because the lockdown began during a lunch period. Security guards and administrators were outside with the students. Nobody was harmed during this event. We appreciate the cooperation of the police departments, the staff, the students and the building administrators. Parents and guardians of our students can be assured that the school administration works closely with and cooperates fully with law enforcement during such an event. The safety of our staff and students remains our first priority.


---


Update: 


The supervisor of security at CHS told PlaceNJ.com that "I hate that it happened, but the response was excellent". Read more here.


Columbia High School Principal Elizabeth Aaron criticized media coverage of the lockdown and the arrest of teacher Nicole Dufault. Read more here



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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Holiday Boutique Coming to South Orange Library


Several local artisans will participate in a Holiday Boutique at the South Orange Public Library on Sunday, December 7 from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. 

A variety of items will be for sale, including collages, handmade soaps, skin care products, felted hats, honey products, scarves, pottery, paper stationery, paintings, jewelry, and knitted items. Scheduled vendors include Michelle Bobrow, Maria Concilio, Elaine Dursbach, Norma Goldberg, Carol Mann, Marion Roffman, Holly Scalera, Kristle Smith, and Florence Weisz.

The sale is a fundraiser for the Friends of the South Orange Public Library, an organization that sponsors programs and activities at the library, including a Foreign Film Festival and the Summer Reading program.

The South Orange Public Library is located at 65 Scotland Road. The sale will take place on the second floor.

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Photo of the Day 11/6/14


The photo shows the steps to the New Jersey Audubon Montclair Hawk Watch. 

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

UPDATE: Parts of South Orange Avenue to Close on November 7, 8, and 12


Note: This story has been updated to reflect a change in dates.

The part of South Orange Avenue between Wyoming Avenue in South Orange and Cherry Lane/Brookside Drive in Millburn will be shut down from Friday, November 7 at 7:00am to Saturday, November 8 at 7:00pm and Tuesday, November 12 from 7:00am to 7:00pm. During this time, a pedestrian bridge will be installed near the Girl Scout camping area. The bridge will connect the Longwood Trail with trails in the southern end of South Mountain Reservation.

"We acknowledge that closing South Orange Avenue will be an inconvenience for motorists traveling to work or school or going about their daily business", said Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr, adding that "it must be done to maximize safety for drivers, pedestrians and construction crews".

The road closure will affect the Livingston Express Shuttle Service between the Livingston Mall and South Orange and the Coach USA Bus 31 service between the Livingston Mall and Newark Penn Station.  

Alan Karpas of the Livingston Express Shuttle Service told Essex County Place that Livingston Township is working to keep the same schedule and have two shuttle buses instead of one. According to Karpas, the schedule will be adjusted if this is not an option.

Only local traffic will be permitted to use South Orange Avenue west of Wyoming Avenue. All other westbound drivers will be directed to a 5.5 mile detour using North Wyoming Avenue, Gregory Avenue, Northfield Avenue, and Cherry Lane. 

Signs have been placed along South Orange Avenue to alert motorists. 




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Photo of the Day 11/5/14


This photo shows the view of New Jersey and New York from the New Jersey Audubon Montclair Hawk Watch on November 4.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

South Orange to Host NJ350 Pop Up Store and Hometown Holiday


Downtown South Orange will soon host an NJ350 Pop-Up Store. The South Orange Gaslight reports that the store will be located at the former Love and Yogurt at 65 South Orange Avenue from Thursday, December 11 until Sunday, December 14.


The Pop-Up Stores are part of New Jersey's 350th anniversary celebration, and sell a variety of New Jersey themed merchandise. The South Orange location will also feature items from other village businesses. Those interested in selling products at the Pop-Up Store should email bob@sovillagecenter.org or call 973-763-6899. 
The store is presented by the New Jersey Historical Commission, Main Street New Jersey, and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.

In addition, the South Orange Village Center Alliance will host 'Hometown Holiday' on Saturday, December 13. Scheduled activities include holiday shopping, music and caroling, free photos with Santa outside of the South Orange Fire Department, a Tree Lighting ceremony, and a holiday concert.


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Essex County to Host Veterans Day Observance


Essex County will host the Fifth Annual Veterans Day Observance tomorrow at Essex County Veterans Memorial Park at 11:00am. The late Joseph Forarotto, who was a Commander of the Belleville/Nutley Chapter of the Disabled American Americans and a Navy veteran, will be recognized at the event. In addition, Essex County employees who are military veterans will participate in the ceremony.

Essex County Veterans Memorial Park is located at the corner of West Market Street and Wickliffe Street in Newark.

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