BY Edward J. Skillin | Wednesday, May 15, 2013 4:30pm
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Montclair resident Ed Skillin shares a blog about the tear-down of the 1898 carriage house owned by Montclair Kimberley Academy:
As all our neighbors must be aware by now, the picturesque 115-year-old carriage house we enjoyed seeing from our windows each morning is gone forever, reduced to a heap of rubble in about six hours on Thursday, May 2. The current owner of the property, Montclair Kimberley Academy, evidently saw no value in preserving the historic building, stating publicly that the girls’ practice field needed to be widened and the carriage house was in the way.
What message does this send to the children at this prestigious private school? Most obviously, that the trustees and administration of MKA give far more importance to the success of their athletic program than to local history, the natural environment, or even the most rudimentary good neighbor policy.
BY Holly Korus | Sunday, May 12, 2013 10:00am
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Whoever said, “Time heals all wounds” had yet to lose their mother. This January, when my mother died, I unexpectedly joined what I call “The Dead Mother’s Club”. A club nobody wants to become a member of, but when you do, it is the members of that club — and sometimes only the members — who help you deal with the pain of your loss. Continue Reading
BY Christina Gillham | Friday, May 10, 2013 2:00pm
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Once in a while, I read something in the news that stays with me for days. Recently, it was a New York Times article on the sharp rise of suicide among middle-aged Americans.
From 1999 to 2010, the article states, the suicide rate among Americans ages 35 to 64 rose by nearly 30 percent. The most pronounced increases were seen among men in their 50s, a group in which suicide rates jumped nearly 50 percent.
The article cites a few potential reasons for the rise (including “that as adolescents people in this generation also posted higher rates of suicide compared with other cohorts”) but at a time when folks have lost their jobs after long careers, seen their 401(k)s plunge upon retirement, and often don’t have access to decent medical care, it seems pretty clear that the rise in suicide has a lot to do with the economy.
The New York Times commenters for the most part agreed and it is their comments that were the most heartbreaking.
BY Steve Crooks | Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013 6:30pm
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“Laws of physics
laws of love
of time and space
and the in-between place
In-between you and me
and where we are,
lost and looking
looking and lost…”
~ Kami Garcia, Beautiful Redemption
This is a natural fact: live long enough, and you’ll eventually have to say goodbye to your teachers.
This on the other hand is only an assumption, but nevertheless I’ve got a strong feeling about it: most teachers want as much as anything for us to grow into their shoes, to take their place as guides for those young ones on the way up.
A friend of mine was lost to cancer this past week, and yes indeed, he was a physics teacher in my old high school back on Long Island. Of course to me, not nearly smart enough for physics, he was simply a good friend. His name was Rudy Lehr, and in fact more than a friend, he was one of that irreplaceable species, a guide through the jittery high school years when we all felt truly clueless, oh, about every fifteen minutes or so.
BY Lynda Wallace | Saturday, Mar 23, 2013 1:47pm
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Optimism is a powerfully beneficial approach to life. It’s well established that optimistic people are happier, healthier, and more successful than pessimists. And optimism is much more than just looking on the bright side of things. It’s an approach to life that focuses on solutions rather than problems and spurs us on to take action to create the lives we want to live.
Of course, we can all be optimistic or pessimistic, depending on the situation. But there are certain habits of mind common to people with generally optimistic attitudes.
Take this quiz to see what they are – and if you’ve got them.
BY Bob Previdi | Friday, Mar 01, 2013 8:00am
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Penn Station moves a half a million passengers a day, twice as many as the world’s busiest airport (Atlanta). It is the single most important transportation resource in the nation and nobody knows it. And nobody realizes why having just two tunnels under the Hudson River is a real problem. Can you imagine the George Washington Bridge with just one lane in each direction? Looking at this issue from an operator’s perspective, the congestion now experienced during rush hours will only get worse as the economy grows. If the Access to the Region’s Core project was too much at $13+ billion, why then is Amtrak working on a $14.7 billion solution? NJ Transit and the LIRR make up 95% of the ridership and have a lot to say about the future design. We need to take a holistic look at operations at Penn Station and by doing so will discover that we can build just one additional track (not two like ARC or Gateway) and still be able to double rush hour capacity.
Hurricane Sandy reminded many people what it is like not to have direct access by rail into NYC. Montclair, Maplewood and Morristown all realize how beneficial the Kearny Connection has become to their communities and the value of their homes. This new blog seeks to define the operations of Penn Station and suggest more pragmatic way of using the existing station and tunnels that yields a less costly 3rd track option to add capacity and flexibility to the station.
The crux of the argument is that the position of the LIRR West Side Yard gives us a unique opportunity to construct a 3rd tube, and avoid constructing a 4th. Continue Reading
BY NJ Spotlight | Friday, Jan 25, 2013 1:30pm
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New Jersey has given some $1.9 billion in economic subsidies to companies of various sizes over the last five years in an effort to get them to relocate to or expand within the state, according to data from a national nonprofit policy research group.
That’s not necessarily a good thing, contend Good Jobs First — which on Thursday released a report titled “The Job-Creation Shell Game” and has made economic subsidy data for all the states available on its Subsidy Tracker website — and New Jersey Policy Perspective, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization studying state issues.
The report says that a number of states, including New Jersey, and metropolitan areas across the country waste billions of dollars every year giving out economic development subsidies to entice companies to move from one state or one area to another. The study contends that money would be better spent to create new jobs.
“What was long ago dubbed a Second War Between the States is, unfortunately, raging again in many parts of the country, and New Jersey is one of the leading participants,” said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First and principal author of the report. “The result is a vast waste of taxpayer funds, paying for the geographic reshuffling of existing jobs rather than new business activity. By pretending that these jobs are new, public officials and the recipient companies engage in what amounts to interstate job fraud.”
Read the rest of the post and view an interactive map at njspotlight.com.
BY joli furnari | Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 9:00am
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We stand at the gate of Brookdale Park Dog Park. My dog’s tail is wagging so hard his rear end is wagging too. He paws at the fence as I remove his leash and open the door. He rushes in, leaping and bounding. He licks the muzzles of his favorites while others, put off by his enthusiasm, turn away or show their teeth. I know I’ve already broken some dog park rule by not making him sit and calm down before entering, so I walk quickly over to where he is. He’s taken a stick from another dog and is leading a merry chase around the enclosure. “Go, Henry!” says another dog owner. I check my watch. My dog has an hour to run, play, and tussle – in short, tire himself out — before we go home.
Not all of our dog park entrances have gone as smoothly as the one described above. Both good and bad experiences have made dog parks a polarizing issue among dog owners. Some swear by them and use them regularly. Others avoid them on the advice of their vets or never return after a bad experience. I am well aware that not everyone loves dog parks, or is even on board with the concept of putting a group of unrelated dogs in an enclosure for an extended period of time. I’ve heard stories and witnessed some intense interactions between dogs—and between dog owners. If I hadn’t been so desperate to get my dog some exercise, I probably never would have gone back after the first few times, but I did.
Here is my family’s story.
BY Mark Alexander | Monday, Jan 21, 2013 11:30am
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Today is a day many pundits predicted would never happen: President Barack Obama is being sworn-in for a second term. Ten months ago, this day didn’t seem likely. With a shaky economy and energized Republican base, conventional wisdom pointed towards President Obama being relegated to a one-term presidency. The fact that he was able to overcome so many obstacles demonstrates the popularity of his policies and his ability to connect with normal Americans. He truly speaks to the problems facing working class people across our nation.
When I started working for then-Senator Obama in the early days of the 2008 campaign, a lot of folks thought we were on a fool’s mission. How could this man – fresh out of the Illinois State Senate – get elected President? How could an African-American win the Iowa Caucuses? How could Obama overcome the powerful Democrats and organizations aligned behind Senator Hillary Clinton?
We got a lot of questions. And we had a lot of answers.
BY Cary Africk | Friday, Jan 04, 2013 9:29am
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While we often lament the lack of progress in running a more efficient and more open government, we often overlook the work that is being done at the State level.
Some very important, and progressive, things are taking place.
These will all impact Montclair, in a very positive way (at least from my point of view).
One of the topics being spoken in Montclair is the concern for transparency. People have written about the incomplete Agendas that are missing attachments, the rule that residents can only speak before items are discussed at Council meetings, and so on.
The State has initiatives in at least three areas that should reassure residents (provided Montclair decides to cooperate with the State).
These areas include User Friendly Budgets, Best Practices, and expansion of the Open Public Meetings Act.
I would highly recommend that all take a look at what the state is proposing in the area of User Friendly Budgets. Montclair should be a leader, not in last place on this issue.
There is both a PDF document explaining the logic, and an Excel spreadsheet.
I’m not sure how many people get excited about these things, but I do and know of at least a dozen other people who also do. Please take a look: