Letters to the editor, April 20
Let’s talk about drugs and alcohol
Montclair High School will be hosting “Let’s Talk About Drugs and Alcohol,” a panel for parents of middle and high school students on the topic of drugs and alcohol.
The panel will include a substance abuse counselor from COPE, student assistance counselors from the middle and high schools, a law enforcement officer, and a former Montclair High student.
The panel will discuss the effects on the teenage brain of popular drugs, and the academic, emotional, and legal consequences. They will educate parents in signs of drug use, and what to do if you think your child is getting involved, or has a problem with substances.
You will hear firsthand from a student who has experienced the downside of early experimentation, and how counselors work with students and parents to help them with this challenge. There will be plenty of opportunity for questions.
Please join us for this important discussion: 7 to 9 p.m., May 2, at the Montclair High Freshman Building atrium. Enter from the North Fullerton Street parking lot.
Stop climate change now
My second greatest concern is climate change. Unlike my first, the specter of nuclear holocaust, I am sure we are not going to avoid it altogether. People who doubt its existence apparently live indoors and don’t read about the terrible plight of those already displaced from their ancient homes recently.
They certainly aren’t gardeners. When I started gardening, May 15 was the frost-free date, and that first year I gambled and planted out tender crops on May 14. Whoosh, I lost them overnight. Now I plant out in early April and some tomatoes already have thriving flowers. I will be opening my garden to the public, along with others, the mornings of May 6 and May 20.
Fortunately, many people share my concern, and there will be a massive march in Washington on Saturday, April 29, to call attention to the dangers of climate change and insist our government address it. Buses will leave Montclair hosted by BlueWaveNJ. 350NJ has reserved a bus leaving from Broad Street and Watchung Avenue in Bloomfield. You can reserve a ticket by going to tinyurl.com/350NJ-A29-Buses.
Alas, my body is not up to such an exertion. Would other concerned but limited people like to join me in a local demonstration that day? What time(s)? If so, please be in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The usual spot on the corner of Church Street and Bloomfield Avenue is beckoning us.
Meanwhile, let’s do our part by not using leaf blowers and by refraining from idling vehicles more than 30 seconds.
Do we want more traffic, less parking?
Warehouse? That’s how the design inspiration for the seven-story building being planned for the former Social Security building/McDonough/STS tire store and two town parking lots on the corner of South Willow and Bloomfield Avenue was described.
Every Montclair resident should be concerned about this congestion-producing complex being added to the “Slope” area, as it was once referred to. (Plus two new five-story buildings on Glenridge Avenue and North Willow.) Also, the closing of Seymour Street for a poorly planned “art plaza.”
The lack of additional parking and addition of many new units and events will impact this area negatively. I think this could bring an end to the no-overnight-parking aspect of our town — and certainly change the residential feeling of our neighborhoods. It could also creep to the rest of the town whole. Living on South Willow for 37 years I have seen Union Street slowly get increased overnight parking (and difficult snow removal).
There is already a lot of new development in this area. Have you seen the buildings on Valley and Bloom?
If you drive around this area on Saturdays and Sundays or when there is an event at the Wellmont Theatre you will see that there is already a great deal of traffic and lack of parking.
The design for this newest building is not attractive, to my mind. Montclair is a community that houses great architecture in all of its buildings — from stone colonials, to old stagecoaches, Carnegie libraries, handsome churches, art deco retail areas, Victorian mansions, Craftsman, Federal houses, Queen Anne Firehouse, Tudor streetscapes and our parks, at least one designed by Olmstead.
The next meeting addressing this plan is at the Municipal Building, 205 Claremont Ave., on Monday, April 24, at 7:30. Put in on your calendar and get there early, to find parking.
Fall in love with the MFF
In just over one week, on April 28, the sixth annual Montclair Film Festival opens with a screening of Amanda Lipitz’s joyous, pulsating documentary, “STEP,” in the 1,700-seat Wellmont Theatre. Over the next 10 days (through Sunday, May 7) the nonprofit festival will bring some 150 films (of every possible genre), conversations, panel discussions, podcasts, industry notables and parties to venues from the Alexander Kasser Theater at MSU to our new home — the Investors Bank Film and Media Center at 505 Bloomfield Ave. A full year’s worth of preparation, curation and (of course) fundraising by our staff and board will come to fruition for over 25,000 film lovers of all ages to experience and enjoy.
Why do we at Montclair Film do this? Because we love film and its power to entertain, energize and educate. Because we love our town, and want to share its shops, restaurants, parks, tree-lined streets, Iris Gardens, museums, university, theaters, and its people — with an audience that joins us from every county in New Jersey, 35 states and 11 countries. Because MovieMaker Magazine recently named us one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” and, for five years running, the JerseyArts.com People’s Choice Awards has named us the Garden State’s Favorite Film Festival — and now we have a reputation to uphold! And, because in these days of Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, to say nothing of the political discord that now grips our country, we believe there is nothing more life-affirming than joining 65, or 150 or 1,700 other people in a darkened movie theater to collectively experience the creative work of a talented filmmaker and her cast and crew.
We invite you to join us at the 2017 Montclair Film Festival, and to fall in love with film.
Bob Feinberg is the founder and chairman of Montclair Film.