22 Lackawanna litigation

I think it will be a loss of money to the town to bring a lawsuit to 22 Lackawanna Development. There were 14 hearings and I attended most of them. It was always the same people that attended and did bring up issues. Some of them were very helpful and it did help reshape the proposal. It is about time we start this project.

I feel that delaying it will just cause the area to lack revitalization and increase our home taxes.

I am opposed to this litigation.




Clarification on town’s use of leaf blowers

I write in reference to the article you wrote for Montclair Local, published July 18, pertaining to the Montclair Environmental Commission’s discussion on July 10 about our Township leaf-blower ordinances.

You wrote that I “ …noted that the municipality and the school board both use leaf blowers all year round in violation of their own law that restricts leaf blower use to spring and autumn, but no code enforcers will enforce the law and no judge is going to penalize them… ”

This was a fairly accurate recounting of what I said to the MEC.

However, I was mistaken, and consequently I misspoke. After the publication of your article, and upon discussion with our code enforcement officers, and subsequently with our township attorney, Mr. Karasick, I realize now that the township’s use of leaf blowers is actually not “in violation of their own law,” but instead, the township is not legally constrained to adhere to this ordinance; that is, the ordinance does not pertain to municipal operations.

I apologize for my inaccurate statement, and hope that you can correct this so that any misconceptions are clarified and the facts of the matter can be made public.



The author is Montclair Township’s sustainability officer.


DiVincenzo should cancel county ICE contract

Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. has served as Essex County Executive since 2002. In this role, he has done a lot of good work, particularly improving the county park system.
However, his legacy is now overshadowed by the immoral and inhumane housing of ICE detainees in our county jail.

Now that he is being called out on these conditions, DiVincenzo is putting on a PR campaign to clean up his image, but it is not really solving the problem.

Is this really the legacy that DiVincenzo wants to leave to posterity?

It is time to cancel the contract, and make real improvements to the county jail system.




Booker, DiVincenzo and Norcross

Cory Booker is a U.S. Senator. He gives great speeches. He’s been to the privately run detention center in Elizabeth where he railed against the treatment of the detainees. There are times when he sounds like the second coming of Malcolm X. But the speeches often don’t translate into action. When it comes to the ICE jail in Newark run by his buddy Joseph DiVincenzo, he becomes more reticent. He says he’ll share his concerns about the jail with Joe privately. Booker has a long history of cozying up to Wall Street and taking money from Big Pharma and charter school backers. But in his presidential campaign at least, he is not taking “dark money” or PAC donations. If he were to run in New Jersey on traditional Democratic values—health care, the environment, education, etc., he would be a senator-for-life. He doesn’t need Joe D’s money or endorsement in this bluest of counties.

Booker can’t have $2,800 lunches with Joe DiVincenzo and George Norcross and still claim to be progressive. Time to walk the walk, senator.




Farewell to the Marlboro Bakery forever

As a child of Montclair I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience a legend; I am speaking about the Marlboro Bakery. I heard the sad news yesterday that on Aug. 31 the doors will close forever. I'm going back more than 30 years ago to when the original family opened the doors and the scent of baking bread taunted my nose in the wee small hours of the morning. I thought to myself that I must contact the grandson of the former owner, Mike Abbasso, who fondly spent many years behind the counter of the Marlboro Bakery creating the recipes which won the hearts of not just Montclair residents, but from customers both far and wide.

My friend Joe and I recently discussed the historic legend. Joe said he had many fond memories, both of his grandfather's time at the bakery, and the people that have come and gone since his ownership.

Taking over during the early 1990s, his grandfather employed his four daughters to work behind the counter and stock the shelves while overseeing sales. His partnership with Joe DiNorcia allowed a bakery to flourish with not only the finest baked goods around but also with laughter and happiness to fill a room. As the years went on, many employees came and went but Marlboro remained a fixture in the community, serving the freshest doughnuts or the best pies one could find on a regular basis.

Joe recalls his grandpa telling him how long the line would be on an average Sunday and how he would look forward to working on Christmas morning – sensing a magical aura that transcended the store. For he and Joe DiNorcia this was more than a bakery, this was a second home and this was seen by the continual support given by family members who would provide extra staffing during the busiest of times.

Joe said he has fond memories of sitting inside the cooler drinking cream poured from a tiny carton as well as sitting atop the cake spinner that was designed for decorating cakes. From the age of five he was able to crack an egg with one hand, a talent that has since been lost. Although the bakery sometime around 2005 and he was never able to formally work there, he felt as if he was an employee from birth.

Ever since the bakery was sold and new owners came and went, Joe has been fortunate to always remain close while operating Grove Laundromat with Joe DiNorcia. Joe said every Sunday he would stop by to say hello to the regular crew sitting over a cup or two of coffee, Mickey and all of the locals that would congregate at this fixture of the community.

Although Marlboro Bakery may be leaving, the memories, friendships, and bonds that it has produced over its duration will never leave. Joe said his mother, Chrissy, still runs into customers that she recalled from her time at the bakery, nearly 23 years ago, and whenever she sees someone she knew, time seems to stop and everyone returns to a simpler place, a place where “Marlboro memories” were made.

The range of customers span the generations and on any given morning, especially on a Sunday, as I treat myself to "Mickey" making the best cup of coffee in town, a Metropolitan Opera baritone stops by, a drop-dead-gorgeous minister in stiletto heels comes in and we ask what her sermon is for the day, the man known as "Elvis" in the Fourth of July parade aka Peter Giuffra buys one doughnut; a former Montclair police officer who used to be called "Captain Midnight" comes in for the same doughnuts he reserves ahead of time with Mickey, "Chris," the owner of Holstein's Ice Cream Parlor in Bloomfield comes up for at least 20 - and only Marlboro's rolls will do; before opening the liquor store, two doors down, the managers stop in for a special almond Danish, Angela DeNiro, with Ron Apea's Big Band buys scones for the band while they rehearse at the soon-to-be closing Trumpets, not only does the owner of the laundromat come in but people doing their laundry, DeCamp charter bus drivers come in to get special bran and raisin muffins only made there; a former Montclair councilman comes in to buy doughnuts for his neighbors and the person who feeds his cat when he travels, Kenny Testa who has triplets all going off to college buys for his family, the owner of Laurel and Sage buys 20 dozen "baker" rolls for two seatings, the treasurer for "The Corner" comes in and pays ahead of time so her little girl will think the cookie is free when she passes, men who like to let their wives rest on a Sunday bring their children and Mickey knows each and every child's preferences...it is delightfully absurd. They come in droves and as far away as Brooklyn. They open at 7:30 a.m. and Dave, the crossing guard for one of Montclair's schools comes to tell her about "his kids" as well as a construction boss comes with breakfast for Mickey from McDonald's. Everyone needs their "Mickey" fix. When I arrive there are at least six regulars waiting to greet me. It is better than a club. Luckily we are all members of the Marlboro Bakery society.

When Mickey was telling people yesterday the doors were closing jaws dropped, eyes popped, "No!"

It is not about aesthetics, granted there are interesting ’50s cookie jars up above the bakery cases, Beatles music can be heard, but there is something quite beautiful about a woman with a long ponytail, always in motion and knowing everyone who comes in the door. Remembering not only their children's name but their dogs as well. Probably in another life, with her photographic memory she would have been a scholar, but in this world she is a legend that is part of the legend. While at least 18, at any given time, people can be standing at the other end of Grove Street at "The Corner" waiting to get in, the timeless crowds come to get their fix at the historic Marlboro Bakery that will be closing their doors forever on Aug. 31. So long Mickey as well, you made us all smile.

Magic is going to disappear into the rare toxic ether of "Once Upon a Time in Montclair." You said you wanted us to respond about special people… Mickey is one of them. This place's heart will stop beating.