The League of Women Voters of the Montclair Area Education Fund encourages everyone to vote in New Jersey’s statewide election on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

We will be electing a new governor and all members of our state’s general assembly and senate, as well as deciding two ballot questions pertaining to the funding of municipal libraries and environmental projects. This election will affect most of the policy issues facing New Jersey residents, including education, housing, health care, taxes, natural resources, and transportation for years to come. Make sure your voice is heard.

You may vote on Election Day, Nov. 7, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. or by mail-in ballot to the County Board of Elections before the close of polls on Election Day. A voter may apply for a mail-in ballot by mail up to seven days prior to the election or in person to the County Clerk until 3 p.m. the day before the election.

Voters who have questions about the candidates, ballot questions, their polling place, how to request a mail-in ballot, or any other elections related question should visit for all the information they need this election year.

Voting is the most important thing you can do to shape the future of our democracy.

See you at the polls.

Cynthia Rogers


Cynthia is the voter service chair of the League of Women Voters of the Montclair Area Education Fund


Gov’t must make health insurance affordable

With the news that Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield will be raising premiums by as much as 28 percent in 2018, I am receiving a steady drumbeat of phone calls from clients with the prevailing question: “What happened?”

As a member of the New Jersey Association of Health Underwriters, I have been closely following what is happening on Capitol Hill. While it is quick for policyholders to criticize the insurance company for these striking increases, we know there is much more at play.

There is plenty of blame in Washington, where our lawmakers continue to argue about the future of the Affordable Care Act.

Premiums are rising for three reasons:

Our federal lawmakers are not enforcing the “individual mandate,” which requires everyone has health insurance. With fewer people buying insurance, the cost of care is being spread among fewer people, raising costs.

Washington is no longer providing subsidies to cover deductibles, copayments, coinsurance and other out-of-pocket costs for low-income policyholders, increasing premiums for everyone else.

Insurers now need to pay a Federal Health Insurance Tax, adding to premium cost.

If we have any hope for affordable health insurance, the federal government must address the cost drivers that are entirely within its control. Now is the time to demand our federal lawmakers remove the road blocks driving up rates.

David Oscar


Oscar is a past president of the New Jersey Association of Health Underwriters.

In support of the Forest Street mural

I am a local resident who frequently walks my dog by the mural on Forest Street. I have admired it, and consider Ms. Azie Shelhorse’s pro-Montclair art a distinct improvement.

I trust the Montclair council will not vote to “whitewash” this art. They should instead thank Ms. Shelhorse for contributing to neighborhood improvement.

I realize that one should not let people independently create “improvements” and the council can actually do something useful by asking the police, sanitation or whichever agency they choose, to stop future artists in the act. Just leave this art as it is.

Peter Wald



Stoop Time Wednesdays at Edgemont Park

Over the course of time I have become more and more aware of the need for what I have called “Stoop Time.” I think of it as a place where older women can discuss the ups and downs of life throughout its various phases with a small group of others also experiencing similar changes.

Some have faced the loss of significant others. Some have lost their mobility , some a home, a job, a pet, a neighborhood and/or friends with all within the contest of today;s frightening world.

My grandmother might have discussed such happenings with neighbors as she sat on her own stoop in the early evening shelling peas. My mother’s stoop was in the backyard by a clothesline.

Baby boomers, myself included, reinvented their own stoops on the sidelines of little league practices, outside of dance school, or while sitting in steamy cars on cold evenings waiting for religious classes to let out.

These “Stoop Time” moments often helped one to feel less isolated in the everyday happenings of their lives. Such informal meetings were never labeled or thought of as therapy and yet were often very therapeutic.

As many of us get older it can become more difficult to find a stoop,” but a “stoop time” we have right here in Montclair. It takes place on Wednesday mornings at 9:30 in the Edgemont Park house.

We revere and expect complete confidentiality. We like commitment of attendance for at least five weeks at a time. This is our third year and we welcome new members. We are a free “Stoop.” We are supported by the help of Katie York, director of Senior Services /Lifelong Montclair.

I am the founder and facilitator of our “Stoop Time” group. I volunteer my services as a long time Montclairian, as one who is dangerously close to old and as a representative of Seton Hall University’s College of Nursing.

Please feel free to register and join “Stoop Time,” at the Edgemont Park house, call 973-744-3278 or 973-509-4974.

Leah Johnston-Rowbotham


Leah is a nurse practitioner in behavior health, a faculty member at Seton Hall University’s College of Nursing and a published poet.