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Congressman Payne Jr. to hold Town Hall meeting in Montclair

in Uncategorized

Congressman Donald M. Payne Jr. (NJ-10) will host a town hall meeting on from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 31 at the Montclair Municipal Building, 205 Claremont Ave. in the first floor Council Chamber.

Congressman Payne Jr. will take questions from constituents and discuss important issues like health care reform, President Donald Trump’s budget proposal, and the Russia investigation. Members of Congressman Payne Jr.’s staff will be available to assist residents with any issues they may have dealing with federal agencies.

The event is free and open to the public. Please note that seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, call Congressman Payne Jr.’s district office at 973-645-3213.

Boy Scouts: Camp Glen Gray turns 100

in Uncategorized
Montclair Troop 13 does orienteering (map and compass work) at its cabin at Camp Glen Gray in November 2016. Courtesy Elizabeth Uva.

Friday-Sunday, June 23-25

Archery, swimming, boating, scoutcraft, trade-o-ree, horseshoes, etc.
$12 per person for program and tent site
Deluxe: $25 per person covers program, tenting and three meals on Saturday. Camp site reservations, or
DoubleTree Hotel in Mahwah,
mention CGG­l
for Montclair Local

It was a hundred years ago, literally — May 19, 1917 — that a group of Boy Scouts from Montclair and Glen Ridge tramped along with their leaders into the wilderness of the Ramapo Mountains to dedicate a new 750-acre campsite for their still-young organization.

The scouts, who belonged to several of the first troops in America, were asked to bring axes to chop logs for building cabins — and carry in stones as big as their heads, to help form the base of a dam for a swimming lake at the new Camp Glen Gray. Next month, generations of Glen Gray campers will celebrate the Bergen County camp’s centennial with tent camping, horseshoes, archery and scads of storied rituals.

A group known as The Old Guard, which staunchly defended the property from prospective development 15 years ago, will be there in force.

Entryway to Camp Glen Gray
Courtesy Nancy Arny Pi-Sunyer.

Weekend festivities June 23-25 include a Friday evening party at the Double Tree Hotel, 180 Route 17 South, Mahwah; and activities all day Saturday at the camp, 200 Midvale Mountain Road, Mahwah. Saturday morning will begin with morning flag-raising on the shore of Lake Vreeland, and after sundown there will be a campfire and naming of new members to The Old Guard.

John Hartinger, whose two sons became members of Montclair’s Troop 12 when the family moved here in 1996, says what keeps the camp alive is “a generational commitment on the part of a number of men, and some women, to sustain and protect the place.

“In a very real way, the camp continues to exist because of a personal compact, if you will, from one generation of stewards to the next.”
Hartinger became a part of The Old Guard more than a decade ago, and fought to save the camp in 2002, when sale of the camp by the Northern New Jersey Boy Scout Council for development was threatened.

“When my older son, Dan, joined Troop 12, ‘Doc’ Leard (former Montclair resident, dentist Norman Leard III) was the leader,” Hartinger says. “Doc had grown up in the troop, become an Eagle Scout, returned as an adult leader and went on to serve as a scoutmaster and guardian of the camp for 25 years.
“What is so beautiful is that the camp has been strictly maintained as wilderness,” with latrines but no plumbing, and electricity restricted to the main dining hall.

Dan Hartinger, now 29, traces the root of his career as a defender of public lands with the Wilderness Society in Washington, D.C., to his time learning self-reliance and a love of the natural world, according to his father.

Boys at Camp Glen Gray in either 1917 or 1918. Nancy Arny Pi-Sunyer’s father is in the middle of the front row. Frank Gray stands on the left side, in a dark hat.
Courtesy Nancy Arny Pi-Sunyer.

Camp Glen Gray is named for Frank Fellows Gray, a one-time military academy instructor who became a teacher and school counselor in Montclair in the early 1900s. In Great Britain, Gray had met Lord Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts.

Pursuing Baden-Powell’s program for promoting character, leadership and outdoor skills in young men, Gray organized a Boy Scout troop in Montclair with a nucleus of boys from what is now Nishuane School. By 1916, with several troops in Montclair and Glen Ridge thriving, a committee was formed to locate a permanent campground, and all the local big names got involved: the Van Vlecks, creators of today’s Van Vleck House & Gardens; Walter Kidde and Arthur B. Miller, well-known engineers at the time; architect Frank H. Vreeland; Theodore T. Dorman, a stock trader who served as scoutmaster; Arthur P. Heyer, town commissioner and auto company owner; attorney Phillip Goodell; and real estate man Frank Hughes.

This launched a tradition of loyalty to the camp that continues with The Old Guard, and also the nonprofit Friends of Glen Gray. That organization was set up when the sale of the land was looming. Working with The Trust for Public Land and Bergen County, purchase of the land by the group of devoted former campers was negotiated instead. The land became a county park.

The property surrounding the camp is managed by Bergen County, and the camping area is managed by FOGG. Volunteers from The Old Guard contribute “time, talent and/or treasure” to maintain the camp. Nancy Arny Pi-Sunyer, whose husband was a camper, says she has been to many a painting/hammering/repair party at Glen Gray and is now a proud member of The Old Guard.

Drew Davino, a 23-year-old cancer researcher in Boston, remembers the wildness at Glen Gray with a slightly different twist. “My mother was the den mother for my brother’s Montclair scout troop,” says Davino, who talked to the Montclair Local by phone. “I got to go to Glen Gray starting when I was a Cub Scout, like age 6 or 7.”

He said he remembered being terrified by the legend of Mary Post, told around the campfire. Post was a Mahwah innkeeper during the

The current dining hall of Camp Glen Gray. Courtesy Nancy Arny Pi-Sunyer.

Revolutionary War who was hanged by the British for harboring two spies. Just before she was killed, the story goes, Post put a curse on the tree where she was hanged to prevent it ever being harmed.

“When they end the story,” Davino recalls, “they shine a light on a tree nearby and there is a noose hanging from it! I was terrified — and I loved it. Unforgettable.”

Note: Some historical details in this article were provided through a write-up by Nancy Arny Pi-Sunyer, an unofficial historian for the camp.

Baseball: Mounties lose a close one to Seton Hall Prep in GNT semi-final

in High School Sports/Uncategorized
Henry Brooks came in to relieve starter Conor McGrath, and blanked the Pirates for four straight innings, and generating a pair of strike outs.

by Andrew Garda

BELLEVILLE — The Montclair High School baseball team fought hard and held a tough Seton Hall Prep squad to just one run on four hits, but couldn’t drive any runs in themselves, falling in the Greater Newark Tournament semifinal, 1-0 on Monday, May 15.

This was a much different outcome than the previous meeting between these two teams on May 2, when the Pirates beat the Mounties 11-0. If second-seeded Seton Hall Prep (20-2) thought they would roll through MHS this time around, they must have been shocked by their inability to get runs in.

It was a sunny day, but the wind at Belleville High School’s George “Z” Zanfini Field blew in hard from the outfield. It hung up several balls that could have gone deeper into the outfield, and played havoc with shorter flies and pop-ups, making them hard to field.

The rain of the previous weekend was still soaked into the thick grass as well, killing rolling balls.

“Certainly the wet field and wind was a big dynamic in the game that both teams had to play through,” Mountie co-head coach Ron Gavazzi said after the game. (Gavazzi shares head coaching duties with Anthony Genche.)

The sixth-seeded Mounties (10-10) had Conor McGrath on the mound to start the game, but he got roughed up in two innings of work, allowing one run in the second inning off a sacrifice by Pirate batter Ryan Hebert which drove in Mike Ukrainskyj.

McGrath was pulled in favor of senior Henry Brooks, though it was unclear exactly why. It may be that McGrath was still fatigued after pitching just a week ago.

Gavazzi, who said McGrath was fine after the game, has stated many times this season that the depth of his pitching staff was something he trusted to be used at any time, in any situation. Brooks provided ample evidence Gavazzi was right, as he delivered a great performance out of the bullpen, holding Seton Hall Prep to just three hits during four scoreless innings.

“I thought Henry [Brooks] showed a lot of guts out there today,” Gavazzi said after the game. “He was able to work his sinker in and out, induced a lot of ground balls and pop-ups. Our defense did a real good job for the most part. So, a really good job by Henry, and I’m real proud of him.”

Brooks struck out two batters as well and while he occasionally found himself in a jam with bases loaded, he always found a way to get the last outs he needed and keep the Pirates off the scoreboard.

“[Brooks] gave us a great opportunity.”

The Mounties couldn’t string enough hits together in an inning to make the most of that opportunity, though.

“We just couldn’t collectively put the hits together in the right situations,” Gavazzi said. “That’s baseball.”

That was because the Pirates had some great pitching of their own. Pirates starter Kevin Young threw a solid game against MHS, preserving the win with a shutout. He wasn’t unhittable — the Mounties were able to generate five hits — but never let MHS build up momentum.

“I thought he pitched well,” Gavazzi said of the Seton Hall Prep starter. “He had a good breaking ball today. He was throwing it for a strike, he was burying it in the dirt. He had a real good top-spinner. He hung in there.”

The Mounties often would get their first hit of an inning after there were already two outs, which made it harder to advance the runner. Gavazzi’s team can be adept at moving a base-runner along with sacrifice hits, bunts and stolen bases, but it’s difficult to be as aggressive when you’re one out away from the end of an inning.

MHS did come close a few times late in the game when Young was tiring.

In the sixth inning with one out, Kyle Miller beat out an infield hit when the throw to first pulled the first baseman off the bag. Then Matt McGoey walked and both runners advanced on a John Lewis sacrifice.

The Pirates then intentionally walked Mahki Booker, and Dylan Wright came up to bat with bases loaded.

Wright swung hard, but the Seton Hall Prep starter struck him out in four pitches.

After a solid sixth inning by Brooks on the mound, Evan Chaladoff led off the seventh with a single and the Mounties looked ready to finally get going. The Pirates pulled Young, though, and sent reliever Nick Maldonado out to take over.

Dylan Scarfo advanced Chaladoff to second on a sacrifice, but Maldonado struck out Danny Banks and McGrath to end the game.

“You have to tip your cap to Seton Hall. They played a good game and they pitched a real good game,” Gavazzi said.

The Mounties have plenty of baseball left, with five regular season games (four on the road) remaining, beginning with a trip to Millburn on Thursday, May 18. The NJSIAA Tournament gets underway with  the bracket announcement today and North 1, Group IV first-round action this Monday.


New orchestra, classical music, new ways: Montclair Orchestra announces season

in Uncategorized
Andrew Weker, Montclair Orchestra’s president, looks on as the orchestra’s Music Director David Chan practices conducting.


As he programmed the concerts in The Montclair Orchestra’s first season, David Chan often found himself seeking the musical glue to hold a program together.

Finding the first two pieces in a program titled “Change” or “Contrast” was easy.

Filling out whole programs was more challenging.

It didn’t stop Music Director Chan, whose day job is concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra, from programming a full season of five concerts for the orchestra’s first year.

“We wanted to present pieces that are acknowledged masterpieces but also have a great deal of variety,” Chan said. When he and TMO President and Chairman Andre Weker spoke to Montclair Local on Tuesday, the orchestra was still holding auditions.

Weker said his job was making sure the venues and rehearsal schedule are set so that “David can do what he does best.”

One thing TMO plans to offer is variety. Rather than choosing music to suit a medium-sized orchestra, Chan decided to tailor the orchestra to the music. At its first season concert in October, the orchestra will have 80 players. The second concert will have 25, the third 15, the fourth 40, and the fifth 50, Chan said. Each concert will be held at a different venue in town.

“Operatic Connections,” TMO’s first concert, will be held on Oct. 22 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. That concert, Chan said, is “connected to my past and present, working at the Met.” The program includes Verdi, Mozart and Mahler; soprano Ying Fang will sing.
“Change” will be held on Dec. 10 at Immaculate Conception Church. For this concert, which features Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” as well as Pärt’s “Fratres” and Strauss’ “Metamorphosen,” the orchestra is almost all strings, with one percussionist and one harp. Chan will perform on the violin.

“Contrasts,” at the Leshowitz Hall, Cali School of Music at MSU, on Feb. 25, will have a small, 15-member chamber orchestra, which offers “freedom to explore the sharpest contrast possible.” The concert has been programmed around Wynton Marsalis’ “A Fiddler’s Tale,” and also includes work by Wagner and Shostakovich. For that concert, the “jagged, raucous, almost atonal” Shostakovich was the glue connecting the jazz/bluegrass Marsalis and the lyrical Wagner, Chan said.

“Balletic Reinvention,” to be held at MSU’s Memorial Auditorium on March 18, will feature music that audiences may recognize, but won’t quite, including a remake of the Bizet “Carmen Suite” by Shchedrin, Chan said. Vocal soloists from The Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Program will perform.

In its final concert, “Tour of Colors,” to be held May 13 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, TMO will offer a tip of the hat to the Montclair Film Festival. Milhaud’s “Le boeuf sur le toit” was written as a film score, Chan said. The bill will also include work from Ravel, Tchaikovsky, and Mozart.

For full listing and ticket information, visit

MFF: ‘Mr. Chibbs’ visits MHS

in Uncategorized
Dale Mincey, for Montclair Local.


Kenny Anderson, subject of “Mr. Chibbs,” at the Montclair Film Festival, visits Montclair High School.

MFF: Montclair is in the Festival

in Uncategorized
A bake sale reveals class conflicts in Montclairite Susan Skoog’s short film “The Bake Sale.” Courtesy Susan Skoog.

Here are some of the films and events in MFF 2017 that directly connect to Montclair:

“Emerging Filmmakers Competition,” 18 Montclair winners. Saturday, April 29, 11 a.m. Wellmont Theater

“All We Need Is Another Chance,” subject Reginald Prophet Haynes was arrested in Montclair, and some footage was shot in town. Saturday, April 29, 5 p.m., Clairidge 1, 486 Bloomfield Ave.; Sunday, April 30, 1 p.m., Clairidge 2.

“Menashe,” Musa Syeed, writer. Sunday, April 30, 7:30 p.m., Bellevue 1, 260 Bellevue Ave.; Sunday, May 7, 7:45 p.m., Bellevue 2.

“ACORN and the Firestorm,” Reuben Atlas, co-director, originally from Montclair. Tuesday, May 2, 9:30 p.m.., Bellevue 1; Thursday, May 4, 6:30 p.m., Clairidge 2.

“Letters from Baghdad,” Zeva Oelbaum, co-director and producer. Tuesday, May 2, 7:30 p.m., Cinema 505, 505 Bloomfield Ave.

“HELLO HELLO HELLO : LEE RANALDO : ELECTRIC TRIM,” Jerry Fried, co-producer. Friday, May 5, 8:30 p.m., Clairidge 2; Saturday, May 6, 7:45 p.m., Clairidge 2.

“Cat Killer,” Wes Jones, director. Part of New Jersey Shorts, Friday, May 5, 8:45 p.m., Bellevue 1.

Montclair Shorts, Sunday, April 30, 2 p.m., Bellevue 1: “MOMtress,” Liz Samuel, director and actor; “The Bake Sale,” Susan Skoog, director; “Ace,” Morgan Kahn Nichols, director; “Twentysomething,” Avital Siegel, director; “Lightningface,” Brian Petsos, director.

“Pure Nonfiction Live!” Thom Powers, Montclairite, records his podcast “Pure Nonfction,” Sunday, May 7, 12:15 p.m., Cinema505.

“In Conversation with John Turturro,” moderated by Montclair’s Stephen Colbert. Sunday, April 30, 1 p.m., Montclair Kimberley Academy Upper School, 6 Lloyd Road.

“True or False? The Challenge of Reporting in the “Fake News” Era: Sunday, April 30, 5 p.m., MKA Upper School, including residents Jonathan Alter (MSNBC/ The Daily Beast), Jim Axelrod (CBS News), Sarah Blustain (The Investigative Fund).
“In Conversation with Bill Nye:” Moderated by Stephen Colbert, Saturday, May 6, 4 p.m., The Wellmont Theater.


An earlier version of this post misstated the screening times of “ACORN and the Firestorm.”

It’s garbage and it’s art: Montclair Film Festival’s Spotlight Project, the Climate Campaign Partnership

in Environment/Montclair Film/Montclair Film Festival/Uncategorized
Students stand behind the art made of plastic bags and water bottles. It will be installed at Montclair Film’s new building at 505 Bloomfield Ave.
Courtesy Neil Grabowsky.


This year, for the second time, the Montclair Film Festival sponsored a Spotlight Project for local teens. Last year’s project focused on immigration and was geared to high school students. This year, Montclair Film (the organization’s new name) sponsored the Climate Campaign Partnership, an integrated STEAM program with the Montclair Cooperative School and National Geographic’s series on climate change, “Years of Living Dangerously.” The program kicked off in February with screenings of the series. In March, participating students received a Student Action Kit containing scripts and templates to help them contact representatives about climate change.

In April, students began attending a series of workshops, led by MFF Director of Education Sue Hollenberg and art teacher and activist Debbie Harner, to create a giant public art installation using plastic bags, bottles and refuse. The art will be installed in MF’s new building at 505 Bloomfield Ave.

Harner said in an email, “The beauty of art is its power to involve people. In this case, our Climate Campaign art installation worked on two fronts. Over the last few weeks it brought kids from our community together to bring this work to life. It was an ongoing process and conversation. The second event will be its debut which will engage viewers to come closer, learn more about this important issue and, hopefully, get involved.”

Students make Earth Day signs. Courtesy Sue Hollenberg.

The conceptual art work students create, Harner wrote, uses plastic water bottles to represent air, and plastic bags and plastic mesh bags to represent water. “Both air and water absorb CO2. These plastics are the tangible things that are being used to illustrate CO2. The innocence of these vernacular objects creates a powerful message when forced to understand its underlining reality. Many students will come together during a series of workshops to add to the size of the piece. The plastic water bottles become unrecognizable due to the sheer number of bottles diminishing its original form.”

Hollenberg said that people will look at the art at first and see it as “really beautiful, then realize it’s all garbage.” The three workshops held to create the art were an open invitation to the community, she said. The program had targeted high school students, then the leaders discovered that parents brought younger children and “kids of all ages were into it, and found stuff to do.”

The workshops had different stations set up. At one station, students made signs for Earth Day. Hollenberg said she was impressed by the students’ focus and the social relevance of the signs they made. At another station, students made art out of plastic, with “the hammering, the squishing of the bottles.”

Students were not surprised the materials could be made into art, Hollenberg said. “They just started hammering away. The little ones were jumping in bags of bottles.”

Though the Student Action Kit suggests some political action, for Hollenberg, climate change “shouldn’t be a political issue. This is about their future.”

Debbie Harner, standing, assists students making art out of plastic bags and bottles. Courtesy Sue Hollenberg.

Anniversary show for Lunatic Fringe LL

in Uncategorized
Comedy show Lunatic Fringe is holding its 20th anniversary show on April 22. Cast members include, from left, Dan Scheinberg, Harvey Chipkin, Deb Maclean, Paul Murphy and Dave Groveman. Courtesy Deb Mclean.

Lunatic Fringe will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Saturday, April 22, at the Commonwealth Club, 26 Northview Ave.
The event presents Lunatic Fringe cast members past and present in a performance that, as Lunatic Fringe has always done, draws on music and audience suggestions to create a show that’s “different every time but always funny,” according to a release.

Deb Maclean, founder and director of Lunatic Fringe, said in the release, “We’re so proud that we could make people laugh since 1997, the year when Dolly the Sheep was cloned and the first Harry Potter book came out.” One former cast member is coming from Germany to perform. Current cast members include Maclean, Harvey Chipkin, Dave Groveman, Paul Murphy, and Dan Scheinberg. Former cast members include Irene Cooper-Basch, Tom Dean, Glenn Duphiney, Allison Field, Rob Henke, Brooke Hoover, Susan Korn, Beth Nickmann, Brenda Pepper, Michael Scarpelli, and Frankie Spear. Ben Morss plays piano.

Admission is $25 and includes hors d’oeuvres and two drinks after the show. For reservations and information call 973-429-1527.

Mixed-faith group helps build a Habitat for Humanity house

in Altruism/Uncategorized

Members of Bnai Keshet, First Congregational Church and Baitful Wahid Mosque will gather on Thursday, April 13, to contribute their labor to Habitat for Humanity and build a house in Paterson. Participants either will meet at 7:45 a.m. at Bnai Keshet to chant psalms and then caravan to the site in Paterson or meet in Paterson by 8:45 a.m. Friends and family (16 and older) are welcome and asked to bring a bagged lunch. RSVP needed in order to plan transportation. For more information, contact Bnai Keshet at 973-746-4889 or email

Obituary: Esther Sheps

in Uncategorized

Esther Sheps, 100, died on Friday, March 31, 2017.  She lived for the past 11 years at Cedar Crest Village in Pompton Plains.  

Born and raised in Paterson, Esther was the daughter of Nathan and Sarah Hanik.  She married Isadore Sheps, and for 31 years they owned and operated a neighborhood convenience store in the South End of Montclair, Sam’s Sweet Shoppe at 309 Orange Road.

Mrs. Sheps is survived by her two daughters, Roselyn Kopit of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Helene Scola of Newport, Rhode Island. She also leaves behind four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Services were held at the Jewish Memorial Chapel in Clifton on  April 2. Memorial donations may be made to Cedar Crest Scholars’ Fund and sent to Cedar Crest Department of Philanthropy, 1 Cedar Crest Drive, Pompton Plains, NJ 07444.

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