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State eyes raising part of Pike

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY –

The Rt. 7/Belleville Turnpike corridor which runs through Kearny’s meadows area and beyond is getting a lot of attention these days from state and federal transit agencies.

For the past couple of years, contractors hired by the state Department of Transportation have been doing patchwork repairs on the Wittpenn Bridge which carries Rt. 7 traffic over the Hackensack River between Jersey City and Kearny while, simultaneously, building a replacement span, just north of the existing bridge. Read more »

Taxes up on average by $244

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

Now that Trenton – even without a gubernatorial endorsement by the town’s Democratic mayor – has gifted Kearny $2.5 million in transitional aid and reduced its pension obligations by nearly $435,000, Kearny property owners can know what to expect.

They’re still getting a tax increase, just not as severe as the town had feared before receiving the state’s largess.

According to calculations by town CFO Shuaib Firozvi, of a total 2014 budget of $75.8 million, $40.8 million must be raised by local taxation, which is up by 3% from last year’s $39.6 million. Read more »

Wild pursuit ends with 3 arrests

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LYNDHURST –

It started as an alleged speeding incident and led to a frantic chase that ended in three arrests.

Here’s the account given by Lyndhurst Police:

Shortly after 2 p.m. on July 14, Patrol Officer James Goral pulled over a 2008 BMW traveling east on Page Ave. for exceeding the speed limit at the Schuyler Ave. intersection.

As Goral approached the vehicle, however, police said the driver suddenly pulled away, made a U-turn, and headed west on Page, turning on numerous side streets.

Police said the driver continued up to Ridge Road northbound, eventually turning west onto Valley Brook Ave. and then north onto Delafield Ave. where he encountered other patrol vehicles. Read more »

Builder targets eyesore

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

NUTLEY – 

A 36-unit residential development being pitched to the Nutley Zoning Board of Adjustment has township and school officials on the edge of their seats wondering how many schoolage kids the project may generate if approved.

Mayor Alphonse Petracco is blunt about it. “The issue is this: Our schools can’t take one more student.”

And that’s why the township Board of Education is reviewing several scenarios to address existing overcrowding situations, none of which has yet been committed to, according to BOE President Charles Kucinski. Read more »

Learning to protect & serve

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By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

Last Friday, in a ceremony at Lincoln School, 36 youngsters graduated from the Kearny Police Department’s Junior Police Academy following two weeks of intensive, but fun, training.

This marks the academy’s sixth graduating class. We have been privileged to attend various sessions over the past few summers, and we never cease to be impressed by the range of programs offered and by the discipline of the kids, aged 11-13. (They even walk in step after they’ve been dismissed for the day!)

The academy is a combination of boot-camp exercises and education, covering all aspects of law enforcement. To graduate, the cadets must pass both a physical-training test and a written exam. This is not play time, it’s a learning experience. But as noted above, it is also fun. One of the outings this year included a cruise aboard a N.J. State Police boat, which took the youngsters down the Hudson and around the Statue of Liberty. Read more »

Highway homicide arrests

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Following a month-long investigation, authorities have arrested a Newark couple in the June 12 slaying of a Hackensack livery-cab driver who apparently had been targeted after an argument at a Belleville nightclub.

The victim, Jeff Mansilla, 39, was shot as he was driving on Interstate 80 in Saddle Brook. Authorities say he had been followed from the Belleville Ave. gentlemen’s club, called Wet, by suspects Mujahideen Abdullah and Jomaris Gonzalez.

Abdullah, 25, and Gonzalez, 28, were arrested Friday morning after detectives from the New Jersey State Police Major Crime Unit and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office executed a search warrant at their residence. Read more »

Capacyachi joins Century 21 Semiao & Associates

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Century 21 Semiao & Associates announces that Joanne Capacyachi has recently joined the company’s Lyndhurst branch as a full-time agent.

A Rutherford resident for the past 16 years, Capacyachi previously held her real estate license with Coccia Realty before joining Century 21 Semiao.

Before obtaining her real estate license, Capacyachi began her career in the limousine business. She provided transportation services to clients all over the world for 25 years, developing excellent customer service and interpersonal skills. Capacyachi is known for being a people person, very warm and diligent in her work.

Capacyachi developed a passion for real estate after owning, managing and renovating several properties in South Florida and northern New Jersey.

Capacyachi looks forward to working with sellers and buyers and using her business experience to assist in achieving their goals.

She lives in Rutherford with her husband Angelo, her two children Chiana and Angelo and her beagle Shiloh.

Capacyachi can be reached at the Lyndhurst office, 761 Ridge Road, or call 201-460- 8000.

Thoughts & Views: Check your freedom to fly at the gate

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Much has been made of civilian authorities abusing their statutory powers – and responsibilities to the constituencies they serve – by creating chaos at public transportation hubs.

We have heard the allegations about Gov. Chris Christie and his political associates allegedly seeking to disrupt local traffic flows on approaches to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, allegedly to zing the borough mayor for not endorsing the governor for re-election.

And, more recently, there were charges made by the police chief Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop is seeking to demote that the city’s chief executive had ordered him to have his officers make an excessive number of needless traffic stops on the approach to the Holland Tunnel, reportedly to irk the Port Authority whom the city is suing.

Assuming the charges in either or both instances are accurate, those pale in comparison to the reckless downing of the Malaysian jet over Ukraine and the killing of its 298 passengers and crew. Read more »

Borough fills its police roster

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Another one of East Newark’s own is poised to join the borough’s blue ranks.

Newly hired Police Officer Saul Gutierrez was placed on the borough payroll at a starting salary of $25,000, effective July 18, following his appointment by the local governing body on July 15.

He becomes the ninth member of the East Newark Police Department and he’ll be taking the slot being vacated by Officer Anthony Espaillat, who is leaving the borough after two years to become a detective with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, according to Police Chief Anthony Monteiro.

The 24-year-old East Newark native is slated to begin 21 weeks of training – with 64 other rookies from other police departments in his class – at the John H. Stamler Police Academy in Scotch Plains on July 28, Monteiro said. Read more »

KPD: ‘Maced’ by mugger

Kearny police are hunting an assailant who used an aerosol irritant in an attempt to disable his victim and take the man’s cell phone.

Police said the incident occurred at 6:30 a.m. on July 13 on the 300 block of Kearny Ave. The victim, a 49-year-old Kearny man, told responding Officer T.J. Hernandez that he had been standing outside a laundromat when he was approached from behind and sprayed in the face with a “Mace-like” substance.

The attacker demanded the cell phone, but the victim grappled with the robber, who fled on foot, empty-handed, down Halstead St.

The victim, who also suffered a hand injury, was treated at the scene, where, police said, they recovered an aerosol spray container and a knife.

Det. Ray Lopez is investigating – interviewing witnesses and checking security videos from the area.

Other recent reports from the KPD blotter included the following:

July 11 

Officer Sean Kelly was at Walmart at 3 p.m., speaking with store security about loss prevention, when he noticed a man moving rapidly through the aisles and pushing people aside. Police said he was clutching a package of razors, but had four more packs in his pocket. When questioned by the officer, the man reportedly identified himself first as Mark Bails and then as Curtis Bails. A fingerprint check revealed he was actually Derrick Bails, 52, of Jersey City, who was wanted by that city and the Hudson County Sheriff ’s Office, police said. He was arrested on those warrants and also charged with shoplifting and hindering apprehension. Police Chief John Dowie said Bails has a record of 17 prior arrests and nine felony convictions.

July 13 

Shortly after midnight, a head-on collision between a pick-up truck and a taxi was reported on Passaic Ave. near S. Midland Ave. After conducting field sobriety tests, Officer Dean Gasser arrested the truck operator, Luis Lopez, 46, of Westminster, Md., for DWI and careless driving. Lopez was subsequently also charged with refusing to take an Alcotest. Police said Lopez was uninjured, but the cab driver and his passenger were taken to University Hospital in Newark.

Officer Jay Ward, responding to the report of a dispute at 1:30 a.m. at a Belgrove Drive residence, encountered Anthony Joana, 40, of Kearny, who tried to block the officer and then pushed past him, police said.

After interviewing the female complainant, who said Joana had struck her, Ward alerted other units, and the suspect was apprehended about a block away by Officers Pat Becker and Glenn Reed. Police said he had to be forcibly cuffed.

Joana was charged with simple assault, possession of drug paraphernalia (a marijuana grinder), resisting arrest and “throwing bodily fluids at a law enforcement officer” (for reportedly spitting on Becker).

Officers Luis Moran and Daniel Esteves, on patrol in South Kearny at 3:30 p.m., stopped a truck for an equipment violation and found that the driver, Jason Patrick, 38, of Bayonne, had an outstanding warrant from Jersey City. Patrick was arrested on that and received summonses for the MV violation and for failure to provide proof of insurance.

July 14 

At 11:30 a.m., units responded to an assault at Walmart, where a 23-yearold Jersey City woman said she had been kicked and punched by a man she knew. Officer Jose Canela located the suspect a short time later in the area of the parking lot. Tyrone Wilson, 24, of Jersey City, was charged with simple assault and was also found to have two Jersey City warrants, police reported.

 July 15 

The KPD was back at Walmart shortly after midnight on the report of an unruly shoplifter. Officers Chris Medina and Derek Hemphill arrested Charlie Jones, 25, of Newark, who allegedly had tried to leave the store with three TVs, with a total value of $4,300. He was charged with shoplifting and on a warrant from Newark.

Officer Chris Levchak, called to a male-female dispute on the 500 block of Chestnut St. around noon, arrested the male half — Christopher Beltran, 24, of Kearny – after a warrant inquiry indicated he was wanted by Kearny, police said.

July 16 

Officer John Fabula, on patrol at Bergen Ave. and Forest St. at 7 a.m., stopped a Mazda pick-up truck for an illegal turn and found that the driver, Ernest Dieudonne, 59, of East Orange, had a suspended license and outstanding warrants from Bayonne, Union and Elizabeth. Police said he also found that the plates on the truck belonged on another vehicle. Dieudonne was charged on those violations and with careless driving. The pick-up was impounded.

July 17 

At 1:30 a.m., Officer Tim Castle, responding to a  motor vehicle accident at Passaic and Johnston Aves., found a Honda van resting against the bridge abutment and the “confused” driver still behind the wheel, allegedly holding a marijuana cigarette. Police said Castle removed the joint from the man’s grasp and removed him from the van, but he was unable to stand and could not account for the crash. Jose Melendez, 36, of Belleville, was charged with DUI, possession of pot, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of drugs in motor vehicle and refusal to take an Alcotest.

At 1:34 a.m., Officer Ben Wuelfing saw Danny Morales, 36, of Newark, panhandling in the lot at Quick Chek at Bergen and Kearny Aves. After Morales was found to have a Bloomfield warrant, he was arrested on that and Bloomfield authorities were notified, police said. Morales was also issued a summons for violating the Kearny ordinance against “begging for alms.”

– Karen Zautyk