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Moving day is coming


By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent


Even Steven Shalom, who has run Discount City in Kearny since 1992, concedes that sprucing up the Passaic Ave. mall with BJ’s Wholesale Club as a new anchor store, will be “a good thing for the town.”

At the same time, though, he feels “it’s a shame that I have to pay.”

That’s “pay,” in the sense that he’s got to leave the place he’s known as his home away from home, commuting back and forth from his actual domicile in Long Branch, seven days a week, for 22 years. Read more »

Going out in style with Blue Ribbon


By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent


You could say Ron Shields’ career as a Harrison educator was preordained, given that both his parents taught at Harrison High School.

His dad, Fred Shields, a 1936 soccer Olympian, was a physical education instructor and his mother, Amelia Nowak, was in the business department. Fred taught 40 years at HHS; Amelia, 28 years, after spending a decade at Hillside High. They met while teaching in Harrison.

On June 30, Ron Shields will be calling it a career after 42 years at HHS, the last 19 as the school’s principal; and, joining him in retirement will be his spouse, Mary Pat (Millea) Shields, who has taught English and art at HHS for more than 30 years. By coincidence, Ron and Mary Pat also first got to know each other at HHS. Read more »

For the sake of the Passaic


By Karen  Zautyk
Observer Correspondent


Plastic lawn chairs, propane tanks, wrought iron railings, pipes, dead shrubbery, pieces of street signs, and innumerable plastic shopping bags and plastic bottles — but no groundhogs.

The groundhogs who burrow along the banks of the Passaic River appear to have weathered the winter nicely.

“Sometimes, their dens flood and they get washed into the river,” Kearny High School teacher and girls’ varsity crew coach David Paszkiewicz told
us. But this year, no deceased critters. Read more »

Nothing stops her


By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent

Harrison’s Blanca Alvarez was sick with the flu the morning of the big race.

“But I decided to run anyway,” she said.

Still, Alvarez had something to brag about: Her time of 1:08:44.96 was good enough to place ninth in the top 10 among women in the 60-64 age category for the 38th annual running of the Essex County Cherry Blossom 10K event in Branch Brook Park. Belleville’s Piedad Sanchez, 61, ranked 10th in that category with a time of 1:09:10.52.
Read more »

Unsung heroes in our midst



By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent


The Harrison American Legion Post 282 salutes Joseph Moscinski as 2013 Firefighter of the Year and Corey Karas as Police Officer of the Year on April 26 at 4 p.m. at the post, 8 Patterson St.

Moscinski, 38, a 12-year employee, was on a ladder truck responding to a fire at a two-family, 3-story house at 615 Central Ave. at around 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 10, 2013, and was credited with maneuvering his truck’s aerial ladder around several obstacles and venting the attic window, thereby allowing firefighters to advance with an interior attack of the fire.

“It allowed the smoke to safely vent out the front of the building instead of towards the exposures,” according to a statement released by the Harrison Firemen’s Mutual Benevolent Association local.

Moscinski told The Observer that while several of his colleagues were evacuating the building, he was initially helping stretch hose line to connect to the nearest hydrant.
At that point, Moscinski said, he returned to his truck and positioned its ladder directly in line with the fire side of the building but he had to “spin the ladder 360 degrees” to avoid trees, power lines and utility poles. Read more »

His swift response saved a life

Photo courtesy Nutley PD Officer David Strus

Photo courtesy Nutley PD
Officer David Strus



An off-duty Nutley cop has been credited with coming to the aid of a stabbing victim at a Clifton shopping mall and thereby saving that person’s life.

Nutley Police Chief Tom Strumolo said he was recommending Officer David Strus
for a departmental award for his heroic actions.

The incident in which Strus, a 19-year member of the force, was involved happened last Monday, April 14, shortly before 7:30 a.m., at the Richfield
Shopping Center, Clifton Ave. and Allwood Road, in neighboring Clifton.

Read more »

Habitat back in business in Kearny

Photo by Ron Leir Construction manager Tom Grossi (l.) and Hudson County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Tom Bruning at Kearny Habitat site.

Photo by Ron Leir
Construction manager Tom Grossi (l.) and Hudson County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Tom Bruning at Kearny Habitat site.



The long dormant Hudson County Habitat for Humanity International project site in Kearny is showing signs of life.

On Monday, an earth-moving vehicle was spotted sitting, unattended, in the now-cleaned up vacant lot at 41 Kearny Ave. – where a new 3-family residential building is slated to rise – but there was no operator in sight.

But Habitat’s Hudson County Chapter Executive Director Tom Bruning said that Habitat has new partners in its Kearny enterprise.

Bruning said that Habitat has retained Tommy Grossi of MPC Construction of North Bergen as construction manager for the Kearny project and Howard McPherson’s Champion Construction & Demolition Co., also of North Bergen, as the contractor for the project.

Read more »

Thoughts & Views: Driven to fatal distraction



A few years ago, having picked up my brand new car at the dealership, I was driving home down Bloomfield Ave., stopped at a red light, and was instantly rear-ended.

“Great,” I thought. “The car is 15 minutes old, and already I’m in an accident.”

I pulled over, the auto behind me pulled over, and although I was aware of bump-and- run carjackings, any fears of that were assuaged when the careless motorist emerged. She was a petite, silver-haired octogenarian. Very apologetic. “I am so sorry,” she said. “I was talking on the phone and took my foot off the brake.”

Luckily, there was no damage. But this was my introduction to the perils of distracted-driving.

Elsewhere in this week’s edition of the paper, there is an article about a distracted driving report released last week by the Office of the N.J. Attorney General. It notes that, over a 10-year period, New Jersey recorded 1.4 million auto accidents in which distracted driving — usually involving use of a cell phone — was a factor.
Read more »




To the Editor:

To the dear friends of our beautiful mother, Barbara Gangi, who was recently taken away from us, my sister, brother, and I wish to thank you and the community for your words of sympathy and comfort. We appreciate this very much and shall treasure them always, North Arlington may be small but it has a big heart. Our mom was very blessed to have such wonderful friends like you. Again, thank you.

Donna, Joseph, Susan


A story in the April 16 issue of The Observer incorrectly reported the amount of additional real estate taxes that the “average” Nutley property owner would
have paid if the township hadn’t gotten special transitional aid for 2014. The municipal portion of the average tax bill would have risen by $181 – not $109, as reported. The Observer regrets the error.