Thank you to the community

A big thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, to family and friends, old and new, who turned out last night at Ruthie's or made a donation to help the families displaced by the fire. There is still more good than bad in the world and this proves it. What occurred in Montclair last night was the true meaning of community.
Melissa DiMarco and your crew, what an amazing job you did, not only last night but for the last couple of weeks. You brought hope and love to all those who lost everything, you blew us away with your caring hearts!

Ruthie, Eric and staff, we can't thank you enough for being such gracious hosts. You made everyone in that room last night feel like family, like one big hug! And the food, as usual, delicious!

To the Montclair firemen, who risk their lives every day, thank you for your unwavering service.

To the local shopkeepers and businesses who donated to this fundraiser, you show us what good neighbors can be.

To the people who lived on the corner of Walnut and Valley Road. Most of you lost all of your possessions in that fire, a really terrible thing. But watching you all come together to help and support each other makes our hearts sing.

And to our son, Eric, you continue to teach us that through adversity life opens doorways we would not have otherwise found. Your are thoughtful and kind, sometimes silly, but most of all humble. You don't speak of the amazing things you do, you just do them. We love you.

So the lesson here is that you don't have to wait to be asked to help someone. When you see the need, when you feel the need, just step in and do it. You can change the world.




Recommendations to battle traffic congestion

Ever since I moved to Montclair almost six years ago, I’ve been emailing the Mayor of Montclair, Robert Jackson, and Senator Cory Booker, about how to keep drivers and pedestrians safe. Unfortunately, to date, they have not taken the necessary corrective actions.

One recommendation is to install left-turn signals at busy intersections.
A second recommendation is to make crosswalks safer by installing flashing red lights at all crosswalks, especially near schools and shopping areas.
A third recommendation is to have more four-way stops, more speed bumps, and more red lights.

A fourth recommendation is to address the extremely dangerous three-way intersection at Watchung Plaza (a county issue), where cars speed through the crosswalks there.
I am hoping that including these recommendations in the Montclair Local will pressure the city, the county, and the state and federal governments, to make our streets more pedestrian-friendly.




No surprise Dairy Air saying so long

After reading the Dec. 13 article about Dairy Air ice cream shop permanently closing (“Doors close at Dairy Air,” page 16), I am not surprised that the business did not survive because of the insulting nature of how it was run. I am happy that people woke up that this business is not right. Because of the nature of jobs lost, it is good that they will find something else that is respectful and decent.

I hope that this message and example will teach anyone that you can not run a business that insults women. Women need respectful and fair rights, whether it is in retail or business office, and to have an example of this shop that is now closed should be a wake up call.

I wrote my feelings last year in the opinion page in the Montclair Local on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, and it is iconic to write about this in December 2018.

We also need a proper supermarket in the Lackawanna Plaza so no one has to travel miles to buy quality decent food. This is a shame but you see why having a supermarket is important, and not having a disrespectful ice cream shop.




Regarding the ‘liberal takedown’ of Dairy Air

I feel compelled to respond to owner Anthony Tortoriello’s assessment blaming liberals for his shop’s demise. Does this mean conservatives and moderates support his establishment?

I am from a conservative area of the country — Southwestern Michigan, dairy country. Without doubt I can say this sexualized establishment would have been “put out to pasture” in SW Michigan.

As a grandmother, I have avoided Dairy Air. I wasn’t sure how I would respond to the possibility of my grandchildren's’ inquisitive questions, such as “Grandma, why is that lady not wearing pants?”

Ice cream tends to have a wholesome image — a dessert frequently enjoyed by our youth. Why was this image screwed with both literally and figuratively?

Dairy Air could have been more successful in an “adult only location,” rather than in a town that strives for good family values and healthy, uplifting experiences.




Time for Congress to act on climate change

I have enjoyed seeing the support in these pages for the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, which was introduced recently in Congress.

Montclair is already feeling the effects of climate change, in the form of more frequent severe storms and longer more frequent summer heatwaves, which put a lot of stress on those of us who live, study, or work in the many older buildings in town that lack central air conditioning.

This bill, if enacted, would fight global climate change by imposing a steadily rising fee on carbon pollution, the proceeds from which would be returned to us all in the form of monthly dividend checks. The bill is bipartisan, and studies have shown that it would be both effective at its goals and would generate over two million jobs in the next decade.

In 2016, the township council endorsed this concept, passing a resolution urging the Congress to enact this sort of program.I would like to commend them for standing up for the concept, and also call on our congress-members and senators to support of the bill as well.




Goodbye, good luck to YMCA’s McFadden

Dawn McFadden, our COO, has decided that she will retire at the end of December 2018. She has given us 40 years of outstanding leadership and accomplishments.

We invite you to stop by on Friday, Dec. 21 between 8 and 10 a.m. to celebrate Dawn’s retirement with a breakfast in the Senior/Teen room at our Park Street Branch.

During Dawn’s tenure, she has strengthened our community and staff. There are many things we will miss about Dawn, most of all her strength, humor, inspiration and kindness.
She has held numerous leadership positions with our Y including serving as the former Washington Street Branch Director.

While attending college at Montclair State, Dawn interned with our Y and began working here full-time after she graduated. She started as a gym and swim instructor, teaching various classes, bringing Bubble Babies to our community through her swim lessons and helping the children in the community learn life-saving water safety skills.

Dawn also started the Y’s first school age childcare program in Montclair. It was held at the Y’s Washington Street Branch. It later expanded into the public schools in four communities.

Dawn was in charge of the Y’s housing program for many years that cared for individuals in transition who needed a place to live.

She led the operations and opening of the Y’s 1992 expansion that included construction of the Y’s Large Pool. This enabled us to offer a full array of aquatic programs to the community.

Under Dawn’s leadership the breadth and depth of YMCA camps available in our community for every child has grown tremendously. For example, she has introduced many community children to the outdoors through our Camp at the Lake in West Milford.

When the Washington Street Branch closed its doors, Dawn visualized continuing to have a branch of the Y that could be specifically dedicated to young children. In 2007, that vision became the Y’s state-of-the-art Geyer Family Branch.

As one of the largest employers in Montclair, the Y hires many, including young adults who are entering the work world for the first time. Dawn has mentored many of them and they have gone on to enjoy fruitful careers within and outside of the Y world.

Dawn has partnered with the Montclair educators who run the Montclair Public Schools Transition Program to provide students with work experience at the Y and help prepare them for competitive employment.

Part of the Y’s mission is to be accessible to all so that everyone can have the opportunity to experience the Y’s programs and activities. Through the years, Dawn has made it possible for countless children, families and adults in the community to lead healthier and happier lives by being able to take advantage of the Y’s financial assistance program.
We are so thankful for Dawn’s 40 years of service. So many of us feel fortunate to have worked alongside a leader with her passion, intellect, creativity, and positive attitude.
She leaves a legacy to be proud of. We have conducted a search for Dawn’s successor.

Look for an announcement about that in the coming weeks.
Please join us in wishing Dawn well in her retirement—and please help us thank Dawn for all that she has done in service of this Y, our members and our staff.



The author is CEO and president of the Montclair YMCA.