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Thursday, March 31, 2016

South Orange Has a New Municipal Website


South Orange, New Jersey: Another Essex County municipality has a new website.


The Township of South Orange Village's redesigned website was made accessible to the public on Thursday. The website was designed by Manhattan, Kansas-based CivicPlus, which also designed the websites for West Orange and Millburn. This is the first time South Orange's website has been redesigned since 2003. The old website was ranked 209 on Monmouth University's 2013 list of the best municipal websites in the state.


Newark, Nutley, Millburn, and East Orange have all recently redesigned their websites.


Click here to visit southorange.org.





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Photo of the Day 3/31/16


This photo shows the Orange Public Library on Main Street.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Photo of the Day 3/30/16


The Orange Memorial Hospital, which lies abandoned, towers over the surrounding Orange neighborhood.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Photos of the Day 3/29/16


These photos show Columbia High School in Maplewood, which dates to 1926.



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Monday, March 28, 2016

Photo of the Day 3/28/16


This photo shows the Maplewood Village clock and the Maplewood Train Station.

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Photo of the Day 3/27/16


This photo shows the view of the Morris and Essex NJ Transit Line, East Orange, Newark and New York from Orange.

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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Photo of the Day 3/26/16


This photo shows a view of Route 78, Union, and Springfield from Maplewood.

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Photo of the Day 3/25/16


This photo shows a view of Lincoln Avenue and its surrounding neighborhood in Orange.

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Essex County Moves Forward With Cedar Grove Park Plans


Cedar Grove, New Jersey: A new community center is planned for Western Essex County, and officials are planning to name it in honor of a local leader.

According to a public legal notice, the new 5,000 square foot community center at Essex County Cedar Grove Park will be called the Essex County Robert O'Toole Community Center should an ordinance be passed by the Board of Chosen Freeholders. O'Toole is the former mayor of Cedar Grove.

The park will be developed at the site of the former Essex County Hospital Center along Fairview Avenue near the Verona border. The hospital has been abandoned for approximately a decade ever since a new facility was built along Grove Avenue. Cedar Grove Park will be 77 acres, and will feature lighted walking paths, bocce courts, and a playground, in addition to the community center. Another part of the site will contain townhouses.

The former Essex County Hospital Center is not the only abandoned medical facility in the region that is being torn down to make way for parkland. The State of New Jersey recently demolished the former Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Parsippany, Morris County. The site will become part of the Central Park of Morris County. In addition, the former Essex County Isolation Hospital in Belleville is being converted into apartments, and a vocational technical school is being built at the site of the former United Hospital in Newark.

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Essex County Developments Receive Smart Growth Awards


Newark, New Jersey: Three Essex County redevelopment projects have won awards from a statewide organization.

New Jersey Future, which is based in Trenton, announced this week that the redevelopment of the Hahne and Co. Building in Downtown Newark, the renovation of the F. Berg Hat Factory Complex in Orange's Valley Arts District, and the development of the Avalon Bloomfield Station in Bloomfield Center are among the seven winners of the 2016 Smart Growth Awards. 

The awards are an "annual contest to honor the best in quality planning and development in the state", according to the organization. An awards ceremony will be held at the Panasonic North America headquarters in Newark in June.

Construction began on the Hahne's project in 2014. The building, once used as a department store, had sat abandoned along Broad Street near Military Park for decades. When completed, it will contain a Whole Foods Market location, the headquarters of City National Bank, housing, art galleries, and Rutgers-Newark facilities.

The former Berg factory, which is located near the Highland Avenue NJ Transit Station, is being converted into the Hat City Lofts condominium complex, which will also contain commercial and art spaces. The Avalon Bloomfield Station complex is located within the Glenwood Village development opposite the Bloomfield Train Station. Completed in 2015, it includes housing, a supermarket, stores and a parking garage.

Top Photo: Inside the Hahne's project in Downtown Newark
Below: The Berg Hat Factory in Orange
Bottom: Avalon in Bloomfield



   

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Photo of the Day 3/24/16


This photo shows the abandoned Orange Memorial Hospital complex.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Photo of the Day 3/23/16


Construction is underway on the new Parke Place residential development at the corner of Springfield and Boyden Avenues in Maplewood. A PSE&G facility previously stood at the site.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Halal Guys Plans to Open in Newark


Newark, New Jersey: Another new restaurant franchise is coming to Downtown Newark. 

The Halal Guys is planning to open a location at 72 Halsey Street, between Prudential Drive and New Street. The space is located within the new Shoppes on Broad development at the Prudential office complex, which was built in 2015 at the site of a private parking lot. Starbucks Coffee and Blaze Pizza have opened within the development already, and Qdoba Mexican Eats is opening this spring. 

The Halal Guys, which serves gyros, falafel, chicken, and sandwiches, was originally a Manhattan street food vendor. It is currently expanding across the country, and is also opening a location in East Brunswick, Middlesex County. 

Click here to learn more. 

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Stadium Redevelopment Not Expected to Impact Newark Light Rail Service


Newark, New Jersey: After just over 15 years in Newark's Central Ward, the Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium on Broad Street could soon be no more. 


The stadium, home to the Newark Bears baseball team until 2013, is being sold by the City of Newark and Essex County for $23.5 million to Lotus Equity Group, which is planning to build a new high-rise development at the site, according to NJ Advance Media.


The project has yet to be heard by the Newark Zoning Board of Adjustment or the Newark Central Planning Board.


In 2006, NJ Transit opened the Riverfront Stadium Station in front of the stadium as part of the Newark Light Rail extension, and hundreds of commuters take the northbound light rail past the building each day. However, according to NJ Transit, customers likely will not be affected by the construction. 


"Service should not be impacted as long as Newark Light Rail can operate safety at this location", said NJ Transit spokesperson Nancy Snyder, adding that "should construction necessitate the closure of this station, Newark Light Rail is able to accommodate customers at Newark Broad Street and Washington Park stations on an alternate track in both directions".


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-File Photo-

Photo of the Day 3/22/16


This photo shows Maplewood's Maplecrest Park.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Cactus Charly Opening West Orange Location


West Orange, New Jersey: A local Mexican restaurant is opening another Essex County location.

Cactus Charly II will be located near the Orange border in Downtown West Orange at 10 Main Street, between Northfield Avenue and the Erie Loop bus depot. 

The space was most recently occupied by Guatemalan restaurant Rincon Guatemalteco, which opened in the summer of 2015. Los Tapatios previously occupied the space before condensing into a building next door.

The original Cactus Charly Authentic Mexican Restaurant opened in the Maplewood Village Business District in 2011.

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Union County Coffee Shop to Open Bloomfield Location


Bloomfield, New Jersey: A new coffee shop will open soon in Bloomfield. 

Ahrre's Coffee Roastery's new location will be located within new Jack's Super Foodtown in Bloomfield Center at 296 Glenwood Avenue, between Washington Street and Lackawanna Place. The coffee shop is expected to open in April. Ahrre's currently operates two Union County locations in Westfield and Summit. 

Jack's Super Foodtown opened in Bloomfield in 2015 within the new Glenwood Village mixed use residential and commercial development.

Click here to learn more.

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Photo of the Day 3/21/16


This photo shows a view of Irvington, Newark, and Manhattan from Springfield Avenue in Maplewood.

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Photo of the Day 3/20/16


This 'ghost sign' is located on Springfield Avenue in Maplewood.

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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Photo of the Day 3/19/16


This photo shows the new Daibes Building at the corner of Springfield Avenue and Burnett Avenue in Maplewood.

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Friday, March 18, 2016

Photo of the Day 3/18/16


This photo shows Maplewood Middle School in Maplewood.

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Residential Development Coming to East Orange


East Orange, New Jersey: Hundreds of residents could soon live in what is currently a vacant area in the City of East Orange.

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held tomorrow for a new residential development at 95 North Walnut Street, between Summit Street and William Street. TBG Development and the City of East Orange will host the event, which will be attended by Mayor Lester E. Taylor III. The two existing apartment buildings at the site, which have been abandoned for over a decade, will be renovated. According to the City, there will be 71 apartments and six townhouses when the project is completed.

The new developments will mark a change in the neighborhood, which currently has several vacant lots.

“Taking advantage of the spaces and corridors that have been underutilized in our community is key to East Orange’s revitalization", said Mayor Taylor in a statement.

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Photo of the Day 3/17/16


This photo shows the new Linc 32 development at Tony Galento Plaza in Orange.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Update: Creation of Newark Police Civilian Complaint Review Board Approved by City Council


Newark, New Jersey: A Civilian Complaint Review Board will remain in the City of Newark. 

The Newark City Council unanimously voted on Wednesday evening to approve the creation of the board, which will research claims of wrongdoing in the Newark Police Department. Mayor Ras Baraka issued an executive order to create the board in 2015. 

Several residents, in addition to representatives from the Ironbound Community Corporation, Newark NAACP, American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU of NJ), New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance, and Newark Communities for Accountable Policing (N-CAP) spoke before the council at the meeting. 

There have been a variety of reactions to the decision from leaders of local organizations. 

Udi Ofer of the ALCU of NJ said in a statement that “for 50 years the people of Newark have called for the creation of a civilian review board, and today Newark finally responded by creating one of the nation’s strongest police review boards". 

James Stewart Jr., the president of the Newark Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 12, which represents NPD officers, told Essex County Place that the union expected the council to move the CCRB forward. 

"Barring any action from the ECPO [Essex County Prosecutor's Office] or the Office of the Attorney General, which we do not expect, we will move forward, along with the Superior Officers Association, and challenge the CCRB on its merits in any available forum, including Superior Court, to determine what actions are allowed by a New Jersey CCRB, and what actions are not", said Stewart. 

Stewart added that "the FOP has advocated for the DOJ to come into Newark and review our policies and practices, we want to ensure we have the best relationship as possible with the community, we know how important that is. We also want to ensure the rights of our members are protected too. We have a disciplinary process in place, our members are called in to Internal Affairs, or the Prosecutor's Office, to answer for their actions. I saw a post on social media yesterday where a group was calling for everybody to stand during the council vote with the 'hands up, don't shoot' gesture. It seems to me that some of these groups are looking at the CCRB as a way to punish cops, guilty or not. I don't know about anybody else, but the FOP will not allow that to happen." 

However, N-CAP felt that Newark made history as a result of the passage. 

"With the establishment of this CCRB, the days of letting police officers police themselves will start to approach an end", said Jasmine Crenshaw of N-CAP in a statement. 

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Update: Mayor Ras Baraka Calls Out Media During State of the City


Newark, New Jersey: Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka held his annual State of the City address Tuesday night at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and called out the media several times during the speech.

"The media likes to perpetuate a narrative of our city that is blanketed in despair and hopelessness with unending violence and barbarism at every turn, but this is not the city I know", said Baraka.

Newark, located within the New York media market, is one of the largest cities in the country without its own daily newspaper or commercial television station. 

The Star-Ledger, which was Newark's only daily newspaper for several decades, moved from the city's Central Ward to Woodbridge, Middlesex County in 2014. News 12 New Jersey, one of the state's only television news stations, is also based in Middlesex County, though it operates a newsroom in Downtown Newark. Baraka called out both news organizations during his speech.

"Despite how terrible they try to make us look, don't ever get confused about how far we have come," Baraka told the crowd at the Victoria Theater. "Don't be fooled by haters, don't be confused by naysayers," he added.

The mayor spoke about a variety of topics, ranging from lead contamination in 30 public schools to the Mary Elizabeth Mahoney Women’s Health and Wellness Center, which is being built on Clinton Avenue, to the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation's Community Storefront program.

"Despite what was said tonight at the Newark SOFTC. Let me go on record by saying I've done SEVERAL positive Stories out of my City", Will Caldwell, a photographer for News 12 New Jersey who attended the event, tweeted following its conclusion. "I was insulted because I go above and beyond to find good stories in Newark so I'm offended by those allegations", he added. Caldwell also tweeted that he had spoken at several Newark schools, including Bard High School Early College, which was referred to by Baraka during his speech.

"The Ledger covers every murder in its coverage area. That's by no means unusual for a local newspaper", tweeted Dan Ivers, a reporter for The Star-Ledger's parent company, NJ Advance Media.

This is not the first time that Mayor Baraka has criticized members of the media. Baraka has spoken against the reporting of David Cruz, a reporter for Newark-based PBS affiliate NJTV, several times.

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Freezer Warehouse Planned for Newark


Newark, New Jersey: A new warehouse could be coming to an industrialized neighborhood of Newark's East Ward.

According to a public notice, GPB Cold Storage Holdings, which is based in Manhattan, is planning to build a freezer warehouse at 105-161 Hyatt Lane, off of Wilson Avenue. The lot is located between the train tracks and the New Jersey Turnpike/Route 95. The Newark Central Planning Board will hear the proposal on Monday, March 21 at 6:30pm.

There are no residential properties in the area, which includes the FedEx Freight distribution center, the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission, R.V. Trucking, the Ironbound Intermodel facility, and the Ironbound Express trucking facility.

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Photo of the Day 3/16/16


This photo was taken at Columbia High School in Maplewood.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka to Call for $15 NJ Minimum Wage


Newark, New Jersey: Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka will call for a $15 minimum wage in New Jersey at an event on the steps of City Hall on Wednesday morning.


According to the City of Newark, Baraka will join three state organizations at 9:30am to "urge legislators to move to phase in $15 minimum wage, raise wages for tipped workers, and fight wage theft". 


New Jersey Urban Mayors' Association President and Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz and New Jersey Working Families Alliance Executive Director Analilia Mejia are also scheduled to speak. Some New Jersey workers who make unless $15 per hour will be in attendance. 


Last month, Baraka called for a $15 minimum wage for employees at Newark Liberty International Airport.


New Jersey's current minimum wage is $8.38.


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-File Photo-

TD Bank Opening in Newark's Ironbound


Newark, New Jersey: A new bank will open in Newark's East Ward.

TD Bank is beginning construction on a new branch located at 418-428 Market Street in the Ironbound neighborhood, at the southwest corner of Prospect Street. Signs advertising the bank's construction have been posted, and according to Lisa Sawicki of TD Bank, a grand opening should be held later this year. 

The new location will be the third in Newark for the Canadian bank. There are locations on Springfield Avenue and Mulberry Street.

A Burger King location was previously located at the site, before closing five years ago. The building was torn down in 2013. PSE&G had been removing and replacing soil underground at the site in 2014 because the Market Street Gas Works was located there until the beginning of the 20th Century.

Update: The new TD Bank branch held a grand opening celebration on Saturday, October 1st.

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Photos: Taste of Montclair Held in West Orange


West Orange, New Jersey: Hundreds of area residents came to The Manor in West Orange on Monday evening to take part in the annual Taste of Montclair event. 

The event, which was presented by the Montclair Rotary Club, raised thousands of dollars for several local charities. Dozens of Essex County area restaurants served a variety of foods, from cake pops to hot sauces, to attendees. 

In addition, the Montclair Rotary Club is planning to bring Restaurant Week back to the Township in April and August. More details will be released later this month.

The 2017 event will be held on March 13th.
















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Photo of the Day 3/15/16


This photo shows Harrison, The Meadowlands, and The Palisades as seen from Newark.

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Java Love Opens in Montclair Today


Montclair, New Jersey: A Montclair coffee shop is opening a second location in the township.

Java Love Coffee Roasting Co. is holding a soft opening today, March 14, for its new location at 49 Church Street in Montclair Center, between Bloomfield Avenue and South Park Street. Yalo & Me Bistro, Cafe La Crepe, and Gelato Giuliana previously occupied the space.

The company already has locations in Upper Montclair and in the Catskill Mountains in White Lake, New York. 

A grand opening celebration will be held on April 1st.

Click here to learn more.

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Preschool to Open in Orange


Orange, New Jersey: A new preschool will open in the City of Orange Township. 

MIKO (Mixed, Integrated, Knowledge, Orientation) Preschool will be located near the main Orange Train Station within the new mixed use development at 50 South Essex Avenue, between Railroad Place and Freeway Drive West. It will be the first retail tenant in the development, which opened in 2014 where a garage and a flooring supply warehouse used to stand. 

The preschool will be a pilot school of Maplewood's Le Parc Place, according to owner Zina Phillips. MIKO is expected to open in May. 

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Just Fish Closes in Maplewood, Opens in Irvington


Irvington, New Jersey: An area restaurant chain has closed its Maplewood location and opened a new location down the street.

Just Fish's location at 1546 Springfield Avenue, at the corner of Boyden Avenue, closed in January. The restaurant, which operated in the space previously occupied by The Grill Shack and Chris & Cathy's Coney Island Grill, was only open for 13 months.

However, a new Just Fish location opened last month at 1282 Springfield Avenue in Irvington, between Elmwood Terrace and Sanford Avenue. The space had been occupied by several bakeries over the past 10 years, including Las Perlas Bakery and Restaurant, Irvington Bakery, Roro's Bakery, and C.M. Italian Bakery. 

Click here to learn more.

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Photo of the Day 3/14/16


This photo shows Newark's North Ward with Passaic County in the distance.

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Photo of the Day 3/13/16


This photo shows Newark's Central Ward with mansions in West Orange in the distance.

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