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Clifton: Semi Meets Power Lines

CLIFTON COMMONS – A tipster sends in this photograph of an accident at dusk, which likely caused a few people to miss the 7:25 show of “Eat, Pray, Love.”

Semi tried to turn into Clifton Commons and hit traffic lights and electrical wires. Delays as people try to find ways around.

Big Weekend In Baristaville

Music, art and much more. It’s a big weekend for events in Baristaville. Young rockers from School of Rock Montclair take the stage at Just Jake’s for “Rockin’ in the Free World,” to benefit 9/11 first responders from Montclair Volunteer Ambulance Unit. All proceed go to MVAU. Doors open at 4 p.m.; $10, Just Jakes (30 Park St. Montclair). These kids are the youngest musicians this weekend, but there’s a ton of musical opportunities including the Parents Who Rock Outdoor Festival/Fundraiser in Montclair, an all-day Blues Festival in South Orange and lots more music – details here.

Also this weekend: Upper Montclair will be buzzing with a  Sidewalk Sale hosted by
Upper Montclair Business Association, with shopping, entertainment as well as recognition for 9/11 first responders. Around the corner, it’s the Fine Arts and Crafts at Anderson Park.

Tour three private gardens in Nutley and Short Hills to benefit The Garden Conservancy; details here. If you’re looking for a laugh, check out Comedy Sundays at Tierney’s.

Got kids? Get all the weekend’s best pick for families at Barista Kids. More weekend events, here. If you know of more happenings, add yours to comments.

Photo: (School of Rock kids) Arnold Brower

DeCamp Strikers Rally: $12,000, Groceries And Call For Cool

At a rally today in support of striking DeCamp employees, Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin told strikers that he has met with DeCamp’s Gary Pard and they are “working to develop a consensus to get the drivers back to work.” Giblin adds that they are hammering out a contract so DeCamp doesn’t lose riders, but he asked that cooler heads prevail.

At the rally, Giblin presented ATUofficials, Larry Hanley, International VP, and John Costa, State Business Agent, ATU NJ Joint Council, with a check in support of striking DeCamp drivers. Some $12,000 was raised at rally. Groceries were also distributed to the 105 strikers at the rally donated by various unions; Councilman Ray Greaves (pictured with Hanley, Costa and Giblin) was also at the rally.

The big issue for strikers is the loss of their pensions and that they have been working without a contract since last year. DeCamp froze this defined benefit:

The Employer shall pay into the Trust Fund established under the Trust Plan the sum of One ($1.20) forty (40) hours for every employee who reports for work. In accordance with the provisions of the pension plan, the Trustees have agreed to a monthly payout to $36.00 for all years of service.
Example: 5 years of service $180.00
10 years of service $360.00

35 years of service $1,260.00 (you max out at 35 years)

The strikers want to have their pensions to remain intact, but DeCamp has offered an $1000 lump sum. The Union’s proposed lump sum was .43 cents per check, per driver, retroactively for this year, and the coming year, for a two-year “cooling off period” if DeCamp would agree to not eliminate the pension. DeCamp rejected that proposal. Salaries for DeCamp drivers average around $50K a year ($20.68 per hour base). Cleaners make around $23K.

When Baristanet tried to get a statement from DeCamp, we were informed by security guards that Pard is not speaking to any media outlets at this time.

Lower Manhattan: Like a Phoenix Rising

When I toured lower Manhattan by bike a few days ago, starting in the West Village, riding downtown to Battery Park along the Hudson River and coming back uptown by way of Ground Zero, I was struck by how much the neighborhood has changed in the past nine years.

Battery Park City, built on top of the landfill dug out during the trade center’s construction, is one of the city’s finest assets. Here, the built environment echoes natural surroundings and the river is allowed to dominate. Riverfront esplanades, marinas, parks, playgrounds and abundant sculptures dot the 92-acre neighborhood. In my opinion, the parks, maintained by the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, rank among the best urban green space on the planet.

September 11, 2001 left both a literal and figurative hole in the neighborhood, and many people will never be able to move past those horrors. But Lower Manhattan is rising like a Phoenix, bringing with it a breath of resilience, perseverance and spectacular beauty.

The Freedom Towers are a bustle of construction, as seen in this photo, taken from the back of Trinity Church. The historic church, directly across from Ground Zero, has a full schedule of memorial services this weekend. Beginning tonight at 6 p.m. with an all night vigil and labyrinth walk, the ringing of the “bell of hope” at 8:46 a.m. on Saturday and an ecumenical service followed by Prayers for Healing. The historic and intrepid church, which was a place of refuge and a center of mourning, continues to provide a focal point.

But even if you don’t attend a service or visit Lower Manhattan this weekend, try it some other time. You might just find that healing can also come from  tipping a hat — or bike helmet — to one of New York’s most elegant and, despite its tragic history, peaceful neighborhoods.

DiVincenzo Reassures, Angers Millburn Shopkeepers

When County Executive Joe DiVincenzo scheduled a meeting with members of Downtown Millburn for yesterday, his goal was to reassure shopkeepers that county roadwork to replace the Millburn Avenue Bridge was proceeding swiftly, and to dispel rumors that Millburn Ave. would be closed for several months.

He did accomplish those tasks — and said roadwork should be complete by January — but he also angered several shopkeepers who wondered what he was doing scheduling an official visit for the first day of Rosh Hoshana.

“Doesn’t the Essex County Executive have a calendar showing that Thursday is Rosh Hashanah and a lot of the businesses will be closed and at Temples,” said Todd and Gali Rivkees of Suki’s, a children’s boutique, in reply to an email sent out by Downtown Millburn. “How insensitive the county is.”

“I have a call into him,” wrote Daniel Baer, a township committee member. “I agree and we never were called on this visit.” Baer confirmed he missed the meeting because of the holiday.

This afternoon, John Buchholz, president of Downtown Millburn, sent out a note to the business community and the press, summarizing yesterday’s meeting.

The County Executive confirmed that the county would not close down Millburn Avenue, dispelling the recent rumors. He also noted that all road work would be complete by January of next year (provided construction is on schedule without weather delays) and the remaining two months of work would be to complete the sidewalks and bridge abutments.

Joe DiVincenzo responded to questions from The Item and Millburn Patch and the attending merchants. (See The Item’s press release below). One of the more direct questions was related to greater advanced notice for changes that occur during construction to enable business owners to have more time to react and respond. The county executive promised to hold a meeting with the businesses in early November at Town Hall to review the process and changes that would occur to start phase two.

We will continue to monitor the progress of construction, respond to any questions or complaints from the downtown merchants, and continue to make this construction the least obtrusive to the Downtown Merchants. Thank you for your patience.

A spokesman for DiVincenzo has not responded to our question about the Rosh Hoshana conflict.

Memorials and Services For 9/11

This Saturday marks the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  To honor of those who lost their lives in the national tragedy, “Essex County Remembers” will take place Saturday at the Essex County Eagle Rock September 11th Memorial in West Orange. The annual ceremony begins at 8 a.m. The brief program will include family members of those who perished in the attacks, the placing of memorial wreaths at the monument and the raising of a new American flag. A string quartet will continue to perform chamber music until 2 p.m. at the memorial site.

Montclair will also host its own annual memorial service on Saturday morning. The ceremony will be held at 8:30 a.m. in Watchung Plaza.

St. John’s Epsicopal Church (55 Montclair Ave., Montclair) , as it did in the days following 9/11/01, will have its Labyrinth Walk open for meditation and prayer.

Last year, 9/11 was officially designated a National Day of Service and Remembrance. If you’re interested in participating in community service as a tribute to those who passed in the 9/11 attacks, 9/11 Day of Service offers opportunities locally. In Little Falls, a town-wide day of service will take place, with community volunteers and MSU students working on projects including cleaning along the banks of the  Passaic river. In Maplewood, First Aid Squad has organized an Emergency Services 5K Walk.

Let us know how you’ll be recognizing the ninth anniversary of the attacks in comments.

See What’s Brewing Jersey At Cricket Hill

I have a confession: I’ve never consumed a beer. As per my own psychoanalysis, I suppose my desire for beer was forever quelled by memories of undershirt-clad Italian men, sitting on a patio in folding chairs, knocking off cans of Narragansett beer, then summarily emptying the last few drops on the hot concrete, and crushing the can under their shoe. There’s a strong olfactory component that accompanies my visual memory, something like the opposite of apple pie; I’ve never been able to shake it. Therefore, I’ve always considered myself to be beer-illiterate – that was until my recent tour of Cricket Hill Brewery.

Ingenuity and entrepreneurship is often born of frustration, and for Rick Reed, owner of Cricket Hill, years of disappointment with the Buds, Millers, and Coors of the world led Rick to take matters into his own hands, factory. In 2001 Rick became a brewmaster. He received federal licensure, and opened Cricket Hill Brewery in Fairfield, New Jersey. Rick is every ounce as passionate and informative as any professional. Today Cricket Hill produces nine different types of beers. Four are flagships beers, including Cricket Hill American Ale, IPA (India Pale Ale) Hopnotic, the East Coast Lager, and Colonel Blides Cask Ale. Cricket Hill also produces reserve and seasonal beers, such as the Fall Festivus Ale, Maibok, Paymasters Porter Ale, Nocturne Dark Lager, and the award winning Jersey Summer Breakfast Ale.

For a hopped up education on the life cycle of beer, a demonstration of proper head, and my first beer tasting, watch the video.

Cricket Hill Beer is carried in New Jersey, Long Island, Pennsylvania, and Maine. In and near Baristaville it can be found in the bottle and on tap at The Orange Squirrel, Fitzgerald’s 1928, Cent*Anni Restaurant, Merchant House Tavern, Saint James Gate Publick House, Village Wine Shop, Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse, Magnolias Wine & Liquor, Tierney’s Tavern, and Egan & Sons.
If you want to go straight to the source, Cricket Hill Brewery is open every Friday night for a Tasting and “Brewery Speech Tour.”

Do you drink Cricket Hill? What’s your favorite brew?

Water Company to Fix Algae Problem

A few weeks ago, residents of Maplewood, Millburn and West Orange found their tap water had an unpleasant brownish cast and a  funky smell to it. At least 650 people called to complain. The New Jersey American Water Company, which provides water for those towns, says the public’s health was never at risk, but they’ve just installed new solar-powered water circulators to prevent future build-ups of water-discoloring algae. Full story in the Star Ledger.

My Favorite Place: Renaissance Resale Boutique

I confess. I’ve never been a mall rat. Sure I make the occasional trek to secure a particular lipstick that can’t be found at the CVS. And, yes, I belong to the Bloomies Bra Club because it cuts me a break on my Wacoal of choice (a style so popular it will never turn up at Marshall’s). But you won’t see me strolling a mall for fun. I find designers all seem to carry variations of the same thing at extortionate prices, the selection is overwhelming, and the migraine inducing music sends me racing right for my car. No, for relaxing, guilt-free shopping I head to Renaissance Resale Boutique, my home away from home since I shopped for that one classic blazer which had to see me all the way through college over 25 years ago.

This cozy, two story consignment shop’s inviting window never fails to lure me inside to an ever changing array of antiques, vintage and collectable furniture and home décor on the lower level, and high-end designer apparel from cocktail dresses to coats, shoes, handbags, jewelry and scarves on the main floor.

The shop’s air is one of festive camaraderie. Most customers have been coming for years. Those that are new are asked to sign the guest book (which reminds patrons of the fabulous seasonal sales through postcards) and are soon on a first name basis with the owners, sisters Nancy and Jean. All furniture and clothes are displayed well and in excellent condition. Plus, if you’re upstairs and try on something yet have the slightest hesitation over the fit, color, or size — whether it’s Prada, Armani, Ralph Lauren, Theory, Louis Vuitton or any of the other labels which arrive daily — they’ll say, “If it’s not working, don’t push it. Look around a little more.”

Because it’s a consignment shop whatever I buy is a unique bargain, I’m not overwhelmed by choice, and I can always rely on an honest second opinion. Best of all? The relaxing bossa nova, smooth jazz or classical background music allows me to stay put, think straight and shop in peace.

Renaissance Resale Boutique, 410 Ridgewood Rd, Maplewood, NJ 07040 | 973-761-7450

Greta Goss is an interior designer and writer based in Montclair. Have a favorite place? Write to us at

Montclair Filmmakers Behind Ruth Gruber Film

Montclair filmmakers – award-winning cinematographer Bob Richman in his directorial debut  and producer Zeva Oelbaum — screen Ahead of Time tonight at NYC’s Angelika Film Center.   The film relates amazing journey of journalist and humanitarian Ruth Gruber, who will be 99 this month. Gruber, along with Richman and Oelbaum, will appear tonight (7:35 screening) and tomorrow (5:15) at Angelika. Click through for the trailer…

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