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Thanks for parks help

On behalf of the Montclair Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Advisory Committee, thank you to the nearly 300 Montclair residents who joined us in six municipal parks across all four wards the weekend of Nov. 7 and 8 for our inaugural Montclair Parks Appreciation Weekend. In total, we collected nearly 250 bags of green debris and planted over 1,000 bulbs generously donated by May in Montclair.

As the pandemic has raged on, our use of our town’s public outdoor space has skyrocketed an estimated 75 percent since parks reopened. We as a committee thought it fitting to hold this weekend of events to show our beloved parks some love in return.

It turned into a truly idyllic and celebratory weekend, with ideal weather and volunteers as young as 3 to over 70 years old coming together (though socially distanced and adequately masked) to “green and clean” Canterbury, Erie, Porter, Rand, Tuers and Yantacaw Brook parks. The dedicated Friends of Edgemont and Crane parks also held previously scheduled planting events the prior weekend. 

We were especially impressed by the strong representation from students across the Montclair public schools, who came out by the dozens to support this effort.

We’d also like to acknowledge Councilors Peter Yacobellis and Lori Price Abrams, the Montclair Departments of Community Services and Recreation and Cultural Affairs, Friends of Canterbury Park, Friends of Tuers Park, Friends of Porter Park, Montclair Mutual Aid, Montclair High School Skateboard Club, Northeast Earth Coalition and Yantacaw Brook Park Conservancy for their dedication to this effort.

Alliah Livingstone and 

Tonja Isola

Co-Chairs, Montclair Parks
Appreciation Weekend

Time to change policies

Now that we know we will have a different president, it is time to consider what policy changes our country must make. To my mind, the number one issue is climate change. We have only one planet to live on! The country needs to turn to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.  (Meanwhile, we need to turn off lights and appliances not in use and never idle our cars for more than 30 seconds, and then only in cold weather.)

We must curb the spread of COVID-19.

We need to preserve our national parks and as much land as we can for future generations and current joy.

Another issue dear to me since the Montclair post office shootings is gun control. All gun owners should be investigated and shown trustworthy, and military guns should not be allowed in civilian hands.

We must stop separating children from their parents at our borders and do our best to reunite families that our government has separated. We must be more welcoming of all immigrants.

We must support education at all levels and work hard to make it possible for every student to go to college who wants to.

Yes, our work is not over; it has just begun. I’m glad to have a national administration that asserts many of my values and hope we can implement many of them.

Pat Kenschaft

Montclair

Parents want answers from the BOE

We are writing in response to Dr. Pond’s announcement to not open schools on Nov. 16.  We are part of the 64 percent of parents who chose hybrid/in-person learning for our children. With yet another delayed opening with no single metric shared, these families are challenged and strung along, hoping for action based on science not fear.  We have not been acknowledged by Mayor Spiller, Dr. Ponds and the BOE regarding our outreach in an attempt to get answers. These parties are here to serve our town and support the families, teachers and children of Montclair. No one’s voice is being heard.

We have heard from Governor Murphy this week that schools will not close as a result of the spike of COVID-19, he quotes, “It could happen but back to school two months in; it’s worked quite well so far, so good.” 

We, the undersigned, have created a Facebook page, Montclair Families Advocating for In-Person Learning: Stop FAILing our kids. We hope to create a place where families can partner and share their frustration while participating in a plan to get the kids back in the classroom. We have received over 350 signatures from families supporting in-person learning in 24 hours; the vast majority of families want answers.

Kate Jenkins (NorthEast)

Catherine Russell (Northeast)

Melissa Miller (Northeast)

Deidre Carlough (Northeast)

Julie Millon (Watchung)

Support the library

We the undersigned urge the Montclair community to support robust funding for the safe use of the Montclair Public Library so that the library’s programming and resources remain available to all. The library needs public support from Montclair Township and private support through donations to the Montclair Public Library Foundation.

The Bellevue Avenue Branch Library opened to the public in December 106 years ago. The following words are inscribed above the entrance:

“FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY — HE THAT LOVETH A BOOK WILL NEVER WANT A FAITHFUL FRIEND — A WHOLESOME COUNSELLOR — A CHEERFUL COMPANION — AN EFFECTUAL COMFORTER”

Even in this difficult time, the Montclair Public Library strives to fulfill these words. The Main Library of the Montclair Public Library recently reopened so that library patrons can safely obtain books and videos from within the building. Curbside pickup is also still available. The Bellevue Avenue Branch Library remains closed.

Library patrons can borrow books and videos from both the holdings of the Montclair Public Library and through interlibrary loans from libraries in northern New Jersey that participate in the Bergen County Cooperative Library System (BCCLS). With in-person public schooling still in flux, parents can supplement their children’s education by obtaining books from the Children’s Library.

Furthermore, the library has a wide variety of online e-books and e-audios available to patrons. Thanks to generous contributions from individuals in our community, the Montclair Public Library Foundation is able to provide funding for library patrons who do not have access to the internet to borrow Kindles and WiFi hot spots. The library also makes available Chromebook laptops with WiFi hot spots.

Patrons can use the Main Library computers. The library has the technology to support job seekers who must submit online applications. In addition, the Montclair Public Library provides classes through the Adult School ranging from language training to organizing a business online.

Finally, the Montclair Public Library serves as Montclair’s de facto community center by providing a home for the Adult School, hosting the Open Book/Open Mind series and offering special services to all ages, from children to seniors, and numerous community groups.

Given the current financial situation facing Montclair Township because of the pandemic, we encourage you to inform your Montclair Township councilor  that you support the Montclair Public Library, one of our community’s most valued institutions. Donations can now be made to this year’s Montclair Public Library Foundation Annual Appeal by going online to www.montclairplf.org.

Edward Robin, Montclair Library Friends Steering Committee

Irena Goldstein, Montclair Public Library Foundation

Cordelia Siporin, Friends of the Bellevue Avenue Library

Marcia Marley, 

Succeed2gether

JoAnn McCullough, IMANI

Linda Cranston, 

Save Montclair

Margot Sage-EL, 

Watchung Booksellers