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To the editor:

I support Kathe Donovan. I read the articles, and the different spin that people put on them, but the bottom line is that Kathe Donovan has done the job of county executive the way it should be done.

Do we want someone who is a pushover and turns a blind eye to abuses? Certainly not.

Donovan has made the greater good of Bergen County residents her priority.

Over the past four years, there have been hundreds of millions of dollars in savings, lower budgets, more jobs for our residents, and a reduction in bloated government. That’s a difference we all benefit from.

So, when you get a call from someone who doesn’t live in Bergen County but who wants you to vote for a candidate because of how it will benefit them, just tell them you are sticking with the person who kept her promise to the people of the county.

We have a much better place to call home now because of Kathe Donovan.

The non-residents who want to influence the outcome of this election should think about moving back here.

Annette Bortone 


Thoughts & Views: Gov’t stumbles threat to Republic?

I always liked to think of myself as a progressive minded member of society, sympathetic to the idea that government can play a positive role in providing the greater good for the greater number of people.

Things like Medicare, Social Security, pensions all make sense to me, as safeguards against old age and infirmity, particularly as I venture into my golden years.

But if we continue to rely on Uncle Sam to have our backs, the way FDR’s reforms intended, there’s reason to believe that we may not safely make it to the Promised Land.

Just look at the revelations about how federal transportation monitors sidestepped riding herd on GM’s faulty air bags, even after taxpayers provided a nearly $50 billion bailout package to the carmaker.

Or the reports about federal highway overseers overriding state concerns about the failure of guardrails to actually protect motorists from injuries upon impact.

Seems that whenever there’s an issue that impacts the welfare of everyday citizens, it’s corporate profits that always seem to prevail with federal policymakers.

Despite admissions that it’s too design-flawed to fly, the Pentagon continues to push for billions to fund a series of F-35 Lighting II fighter jets manufactured by Lockheed.

Despite being led – until recently – by a decorated combat vet, the Veterans Administration has let down many of our ailing servicemen and women in a stateside scandal linked to administrators’ avarice.

Until Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s recent speech about security risks triggered by climate change, the U.S. has opposed signing any global treaties that would commit the nation to aggressively controlling fossil fuel emissions.

Federal agriculture officials have tamped down consumer advocates’ push for more rigorous inspections and enforcement of animal food processing regulations, preferring to have agribusiness look after its own operations.

Although federal regulatory agencies have signed off on banking reforms designed to prevent the creation of instruments based on high-risk assets sold to clients under false pretenses, the bankers have been granted some exemptions and compliance has been left to their own devices.

The highest court of the land has let stand a restrictive election law in Texas mandating voters to show photo ID at the polls, which, critics say, will lead to disenfranchising thousands of minorities. It has also justified a ban on citizen protest on the court’s outdoor plaza as not conflicting with the First Amendment.

One wonders if the U.S. Center for Disease Control and the newly appointed Ebola czar are up to the task of providing sufficient training for health care personnel at hospitals and airports entrusted with the unenviable job of intercepting and caring for people exposed to the deadly disease.

What lessons can we take away from these disquieting concerns? Are we wrong to put any trust in government for fear of betrayal? Should we rely only on our own enterprise to make things right for the greater good? Or, is the distance between the ideal and the reality just too wide to reconcile?

The Obama administration, or what’s left of it, will be gone before we know it, in the blink of a Beltway eye, and no doubt there will be the usual rash of books of blame by some of the folks who tried to steer the ship.

But I suspect that none of them will be able to satisfactorily explain how the elected leader of our Republic can translate good intentions to action without fear or favor of how those deeds will be perceived by a persnickety press, a chronically complaining Congress and demanding campaign donors.

In a country with so many and diverse constituent parts, it is a small miracle that anything is accomplished but I suppose the good thing about that is that between the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, there’s plenty of room to maneuver in the system.

Octoberfest in Kearny





Photos by Karen Zautyk

Scenes from Saturday fest sponsored by veterans groups to raise money for ‘care packages’ for National Guard troops. Top r., clockwise from l: VFW State Commander Jack Kane & Jennifer Long, Kearny VFW; Nam Knights motorcycle club; Hudson County Veterans Coordinator JoAnn Northgrave, Cmdr. Long & Keith McMillan, Kearny American Legion commander; National Guard members David Williams, Leonard Wright, Karen Lema, Zuleyca Martinez & Vanessa Cabrera, The truck & flag above were courtesy of the KFD.



KPD Officer Steve Montanino.

Assault suspect



A 44-year-old North Arlington man has been arrested for child endangerment after “repeatedly striking” a borough 6-yearold, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli reported last week.

The suspect, Alex Shenouda of Rutherford Place, was remanded to the Bergen County Jail on $100,000 bail, with no 10% option.

Authorities said the assault was reported by the principal of the victim’s school after the school nurse observed bruising on the child’s leg and back. The principal contacted North Arlington police, who notified the prosecutor’s Special Victims Unit and the Division of Child Protection.

Molinelli’s office would reveal neither the gender of the victim nor what relationship, if any, there is between the child and the alleged assailant.

Shenouda, who reportedly is married and employed as a delivery man, was arrested Oct. 10 by borough police and officers from the SVU.

Arrangements were made for the victim to be interviewed by an SVU detective at the Audrey Hepburn Children’s House in Hackensack. According to the prosecutor, the child “provided specific details” about being struck by Shenouda several times, causing the bruising.

Shenouda was charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child.

He was ordered to have no contact with the victim or the victim’s family and also to surrender his passport.

– Karen Zautyk 

Pooches on parade in Arlington Park


By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent 


A lot of towns — including some locally — have some kind of fall or Halloween-related festival each year. But folks from Kearny’s Urban Enterprise Zone wanted to try something different — and that is exactly what will happen this Saturday, Oct. 25, at 11:30 a.m. at Arlington Park (between Forest and Elm Sts. near Midland Ave.).

That’s where the KUEZ will host its first-ever (and, it hopes, annual) Dog Parade.

The idea came about when KUEZ Director John Peneda decided he wanted something unique and autumnal to help attract people to Kearny, in line with the mission of a UEZ. He and a few others brainstormed, and with the closest dog parade being in either Bayonne or Montclair, the decision was made to give it a try in Kearny.

“We want people to come to Kearny from other towns, and that’s why the UEZ exists — to help businesses and to attract people who maybe have never been to Kearny to shop,” Peneda said. “We want as many people as possible to know there’s a lot more to Kearny than what people might know.”

So the hope is that Kearny and non-Kearny residents alike who are dog owners and lovers will make their way to Arlington Park to enter their dogs into the “parade.”

Peneda said that the event will be more like a fashion show for dogs, with owners “parading” their dogs before judges.

“What will happens is we’ll have a stage set up near the old railroad tracks,” Peneda said. “The owners will come across the stage with their dogs — and go before judges. So it will be like a runway, something you might see at a fashion show … or a beauty contest.”

There will be two categories for the contest: Dogs 40 pounds and lighter, and dogs 40 pounds and heavier. From each category, there will be two winners: One for the best dog and the other for best dog and owner.

So what that all means is the dogs should, at the very least, be in some sort of Halloween costume. While it’s not required for the humans, those who do show up in unique costumes will have a better chance at winning some sort of prize.

“So let’s say the dog is dressed up as Batman, and the owner as Robin, they’ll be eligible for a different prize,” Peneda said. “It’s a great way for the dogs and their owners to dress up together.”

On the day of the event, it won’t just be the contest, either. There will be representatives from eateries with food for humans and pets to buy, the Bergen County Animal Shelter will be on hand, the Hudson County Sheriff ’s K-9 Unit will be there — and there will be other activities for kids and the dogs.

Plus, local photographer Diane D. Tilley will be on hand to take, for a nominal fee, photos of the dogs and their owners, the proceeds of which will be donated to the Bergen County Animal Shelter.

So it should be an allaround great day for humans and canines alike. As of late last week, 20 dogs had been registered for the parade, according to Peneda.

“As long as the weather cooperates,” Peneda said. “We’ll just have to hope for the best.”

Peneda has earmarked $7,000 for the program, including fees for event coordinator Linda Kraus D’Isa, banners, rental of sound equipment and tables, prizes and advertising, but he said he expected to come in under budget.

Advance registration is required — and all owners must be able to document that their dogs are up-todate with rabies shots and that they’re properly licensed in their hometowns. To register, visit www.kearnynj.org and visit the KUEZ’s section on the website. Or, go to the KUEZ office at the Town Hall Annex, 402 Kearny Ave.

Registration is free and it is possible, depending on how many registrants there are ahead of time, that dayof- event registration will be available.

For additional information, call the KUEZ office at 201- 955-7905.

Mid-Realty in the pink



If you were on Kearny Ave. near the intersection at Midland Ave. on Saturday afternoon, you might have wondered about the crowd of people on the sidewalk — although all the pink ribbons and pink balloons should have given you a clue.

Folks were gathered in and about the offices of Mid-Realty, 572 Kearny Ave., for a Breast Cancer Awareness event sponsored by the agency to raise funds for two local people — a woman and a child — who are battling cancer.

“All the money will be divided between the two,” noted agency owner Jarlynn Hyde.

Photos by Karen Zautyk

Photos by Karen Zautyk


The first-time event was the idea of Mid-Realty agent Diane Turowski, herself a breast cancer survivor. It was held in memory of another agent, C.J. Parada, who died of cancer last year.

Every Mid-Realty agent, 50 in all, “participated in one way or another,” Hyde said.

Attendees could purchase refreshments, pink T-shirts, tote bags, bracelets and even pink hair extensions. Manicures and face-painting and temporary tattoos were available — as was a Kearny Fire Department engine for children to explore. And the KGC cheerleaders performed.

Add to that a photo booth sponsored by Investors Bank and a deejay provided by Vanguard Funding. Other sponsors included Prime Source Mortgage, First Meridian Mortgage and N.J. Lenders.

–Karen Zautyk 

You won’t go away hungry at Mama Angelo’s


By Kevin Canessa Jr.

Observer Correspondent 


Some restaurants claim everything they make is from scratch. Eventually, you learn it’s not all really homemade. But the truth is, at Mama Angelo’s, everything served really is made from scratch — even the pasta — says owner Larry Angelo, a lifelong Kearny resident.

“Everything is fresh. Everything is made from scratch each day,” Angelo said. “I have a pasta maker, also, and we make sure the pasta is fresh each day too. Nothing frozen. Nothing processed. Nothing pre-cooked. Only the best ingredients.”

Angelo and hs family opened up the Italian-American restaurant in 2010. And ever since, he says he’s been thrilled to share his family’s love for cooking and food with the public.

“Every single recipe we have is a family recipe,” Angelo said. “They’re all from my mom, my dad and others in the family.”

At Mama Angelo’s, Larry says customers should expect big portions at moderate prices. And, he says they should expect to be treated as if they were guests at his family’s home.

“If you’re looking for a quick five-minute experience, like to grab a sandwich and run, you won’t get that here,” he said. “We want everyone to feel like they’re a guest at our home. It’s all about the family atmosphere here.”

Angelo and his family take the commitment to providing a family atmosphere so seriously that every single dish served must first pass a quality check by him or a member of the Angelo clan.

“It’s not leaving the kitchen unless I check it first or my mom, or dad — someone in the family,” he said. “We want to be certain everything we serve is as it should be. This sets us apart from many other places. We’re always here to ensure our customers get the very best. Most other places, the owners don’t even show up.”

Among the many dishes available at Mama Angelo’s that Larry says they’re most noted for are all their pastas, fresh meatballs and Giambotta pork chops.

In fact, if you go to Mama Angelo’s, there’s a contest for anyone to try.

Eat two of the huge Giambotta pork chops in 18 minutes, and you’ll get $18 plus a gift card from the restaurant. They’re that big — and that good — he says.

“No one has completed the task yet,” he said. “Not even close. Some have tried, but it really is a challenge.”

Mama Angelo’s is also noted for its thin-crust, brick-oven pizza. “If you really want Italianstyle pizza, this is it,” he said. Mama Angelo’s is a BOYB establishment. But that hardly matters, given the kind of experience you’ll go through at the place if you give it a try. There’s seating for 65 inside the restaurant, but if you prefer to dine alfresco, there’s also 20 seats outside on the patio.

“People come hungry and always leave satisfied,” he said. “What you get here is true old-world dining — and if people haven’t given us a try yet, we think they’ll enjoy what they see.”

Mama Angelo’s, at 440 Ridge Road, North Arlington, is open Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 8 p.m. They’re closed Mondays. For additional information, menus and testimonials, visit www.theoriginalmamaangelos.com or call 201-997-0577. Takeout and delivery from Harrison north to Wood-Ridge is available for free.

Another wake-up call by KPD

Readers of the Kearny police blotter will recall that last week’s reports included that of a township man taken into custody after he was found sleeping on the lawn at St. Cecilia’s Church on Kearny Ave. That was on Oct. 7 at 4:30 p.m.

On Oct. 15, at 2:30 p.m., Officers Brian Wisely and Kevin Arnesman found the same individual, 50-year-old Arthur Smith, in the same place doing the same thing, police said. When they awoke him, he allegedly became confrontational and told the cops, “I’ll worship God wherever I choose.”

According to police, Smith has been advised on multiple occasions that he is not allowed on the property. Wisely and Arnesman confirmed this with parish administrators, warned Smith yet again that he was not welcome and issued him a summons for defiant trespassing.

Stay tuned.


Other recent reports from the Kearny police blotter included the following:

Oct. 8 

At 2 p.m., Officer Chris Levchak observed an SUV blocking traffic on Kearny Ave. at Halstead St. while the driver engaged in a conversation. The motorist, Gabriel Rubino, 42, of Kearny, was found to have a suspended license, police said, and was charged with that offense, delaying traffic and failure to wear a seatbelt.

Oct. 13 

Officer Tom Floyd, responding to a 4:30 a.m. accident at Central and Pennsylvania Aves. in South Kearny, arrived to find a 2010 Honda Accord impaled on a guardrail. When Floyd approached, occupant Franklin Garcia, 32, of Union City, reportedly inquired, “Officer, why did you stop me?”

Garcia was able to exit the vehicle, but the Kearny Fire Department had to cut the Honda off the rail.

He was charged with DWI, driving while suspended [no pun intended], careless driving and refusal to submit to an Alcotest.

Oct. 15 

A concerned citizen came to headquarters at 10 a.m. to advise police of a “heated dispute” between a man and a woman on Forest St. Det. Marc McCaffrey and Officer Rich Carbone responded and were told that the couple had entered a residence there. Upon investigation, the were able to determine that no domestic violence had occurred and that the female showed no evidence of an assault, police said.

However, in the hallway, McCaffrey and Carbone encountered Jamal Coote, 27, of Kearny, who reportedly had a strong odor of marijuana about his person and appeared to be clutching some weed. He was charged with possession of the drug and drug paraphernalia after six small bags of pot were found in his pocket, police said.


At 6:30 p.m., Officer Jordenson Jean’s mobile computer alerted him to a Honda Civic with an expired registration parked near Highland and Bergen Aves. The owner, Jonathan Quevedo, 27, of Morristown, was located nearby and was found to have an outstanding warrant from Englewood, police said. He was arrested and the Englewood PD was notified.

Oct. 16 

Just after midnight, Officer Ben Wuelfing responded to a report of an accident on Rts. 1 & 9 in South Kearny. When he arrived, Officer Jack Corbett, on Pulaski Skyway traffic duty, advised him that a 2008 Ford was stuck atop a highway divider. Wuelfing interviewed the driver, Shonett Colbert, 38, of Linden, who said her car had been hit from behind by another, which fled.

Colbert’s stranded car, however, was not the extent of her troubles. She was arrested for driving while suspended [no pun, etc.] and on a warrant from Jersey City.

Police were able to identify the other vehicle and its owner has been mailed summonses for careless driving and leaving the scene.

–Karen Zautyk 

Around Town


Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., announces the following events:

  • Shirl Knobloch, author of “The Returning Ones, A Medium’s Memoirs,” will discuss hauntings and related topics on Saturday, Oct. 25, at 2 p.m.
  • A Halloween blood drive is slated for Oct. 31, from noon to 4 p.m. All donors must present signed ID, know their social security number and weigh at least 120. For more information, call 973-676-4700, ext. 144.

East Newark 

Borough Council urges residents to sign up for free breast and prostate cancer screenings by filling out an eligibility form at the Municipal Building, 34 Sherman Ave., on Mondays and Wednesdays, between 5 and 7 p.m. Screenings are open to women ages 35 and 64 for mammography, women ages 21 and 64 for pap smear and men ages 50 and 64 for prostate/colon screenings. Eligible participants must have no insurance or indicate that their current insurance will not pay for these screenings. Income limits vary with the degree of insurance, so those with limited or no insurance are advised to fill out an initial eligibility form.


The Women’s Social Club of the Harrison/East Newark Elks Lodge sponsors a bus ride to Caesar’s Casino, Atlantic City, Sunday, Oct. 26. Cost is $30 with a $25 slot bet in return. A bus leaves from the lodge, 406 Harrison Ave., at 10 a.m. For reservations, call Shirley at 973-483-6451. Participants must pay in advance.


Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate/Coccia Realty sponsors a coat drive, through Nov. 15, at its Kearny, Lyndhurst and Rutherford offices. Coats will be distributed to the less fortunate in the area. Drop off gently used or new coats between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays or 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekends at any of these participating offices: 636 Kearny Ave., Kearny; 273 Ridge Road, Lyndhurst; or 11 Park Ave., Rutherford. For more information, call Randy Wine at 201-939-0001.

The Presbyterian Boys-Girls Club, 663 Kearny Ave., holds its annual Halloween dance on Friday, Oct. 24, from 7 to 10 p.m. Guests are restricted to teenagers. Costumes are optional.

Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., hosts Tempest Storybook Theatre, an interactive story and craft program, open to all ages, celebrating the books of Bernard Waber, Saturday, Oct. 25, at 10 a.m. Admission is free. Space is limited. To reserve a spot, call 201-998-2666.

First Presbyterian Church of Arlington, 663 Kearny Ave., will hold its annual fair on Saturday, Nov. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy a bake table, tricky tray, Christmas crafts and more. Lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Raffle drawings are at 4 p.m.

First Baptist Church of Arlington, 650 Kearny Ave., holds a free clothing giveaway on Saturday, Nov. 1, from 9 a.m. to noon.

The church holds worship services Sundays at 11 a.m. with Spanish worship at 5 p.m. and Bible study on Fridays at 8 p.m.

Trinity Church, 575 Kearny Ave., will hold its monthly flea market on Nov. 8. Refreshments are available. Vendors are invited. Tables are one for $15 and two for $25. Call the church at 201-991-5894 to schedule your table or call Annamarie at 201-998-2360 after 5:30 p.m. Walk-in vendors are welcome.

The Rosary Society of Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 136 Davis Ave., sponsors an Oktoberfest, with live music and food, Friday, Oct. 24, in the church basement. (BYOB). Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $25. For tickets, call 201-991-2808 or 201-998-4616.

A Doggie Halloween Parade and Festival, sponsored by the Kearny Urban Enterprise Zone program, is set for Saturday, Oct. 25, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Arlington Depot Park, off Midland Ave., between Forest and Elm Sts. Owners can register their dogs for a costume contest by providing a current dog license and proof of rabies vaccine. Registration forms are available at www.kearnynj.org, the KUEZ office at 410 Kearny Ave., or K-9 corner, 169 Midland Ave. For more information, call 201-955-7985 or email Halloweenpawrade@kearnynj. org. All dogs, either attending or participating, must be leashed.


Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3549, 527 Valley Brook Ave., hosts karaoke on Friday, Oct. 24, at 7:30 p.m. The post hall is available for all occasions. For more information, call 201-939-3080.

ShopRite of Lyndhurst, an Inserra Supermarkets store, 540 New York Ave., hosts the following free programs, each led by in-store registered dietician Julie Harrington. Advance registration is not required, unless otherwise noted. For more information or to preregister for a program, contact Harrington at 201-419-9154 or email Julie.harrington@ wakefern.com. ShopRite’s retail dietitians can serve as guest speakers/instructors at wellness events hosted by local organizations. Here are the upcoming events:

  • Scary Facts about Sugar are shared at the Dietitian’s Corner Thursday, Oct. 23, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • High Fiber Friday at the Dietitian’s Corner explains how to meet your fiber requirements Fridays, Oct. 24 and 31, noon to 2 p.m.
  • Soups and Stocks Cooking Class offers tips on how to make a tasty stock and a new soup recipe Tuesday, Oct. 28, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Pre-registration is required.

Lyndhurst Garden Club welcomes North Arlington florist Dennis McSweeney to its meeting on Monday, Oct. 27, at the Senior Citizen Building on Cleveland Ave. at 7 p.m. McSweeney will demonstrate seasonal floral arrangements. There will also be raffles and refreshments. Prospective members are welcome. For more information, call 201-939- 0033.

Lyndhurst Public Library, 353 Valley Brook Ave., hosts the following events:

  • Children ages 3 to 10 meet “Belinda Bumble Bee” author Jennifer Katafigotis Wednesday, Oct. 22, 4 to 4:30 p.m.
  • Kids in kindergarten to grade 4 can make a Halloween craft Monday, Oct. 27, 3:30 to 4:15 p.m.
  • Kids in pre-k to grade 3 will step off in a Halloween Parade Friday, Oct. 31, at 3:30 p.m.
  • Book Club discusses “The Body in the Library” by Agatha Christie Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 6:30 p.m. Call the library at 201-804-2478, ext. 7, for more information and to obtain a copy of the book. Space is limited.

Registration is required for all of these events. To register, call the library at 201-804-2478.

Lyndhurst American Legion Post 139 Rehabilitation Committee holds a ward party for veterans at Chestnut Hill Extended Care Facility, Passaic, on Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 2:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by John and Marilyn Faziola in memory of Marilyn’s brother Marine L/Cpl. Frank Lopinto, who was killed in action in Vietnam, and Marilyn’s parents Eugene and Madelyn Lopinto. Post members will play games of chance with hospitalized veterans and distribute treats to them. Anyone interested in sponsoring a ward party is invited to call 201-438-2255.

North Arlington 

Queen of Peace Church in North Arlington will celebrate Priest Appreciation Sunday, Oct. 26, 1 to 3 p.m. Call 201-997- 0700 for more information.

North Arlington Recreation Department’s Halloween costume parade and Trunk or Treat celebration is set for Oct. 30. Participants will assemble in the Boston Market parking lot at Ridge Road and Bergen Ave. at 6 p.m. The parade will kick off at 6:30 p.m. and will end behind North Arlington High School, where the Trunk or Treat celebration will begin.

Donations of candy or snacks are welcome. Parents are asked to bring canned food that the Recreation Department is collecting for the local food pantry.

For more information, call Recreation Director Michele Stirone at 201-852-0119.

North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Road, offers the following programs:

  • Lego Club, for grades 1 and up, meets Oct. 28 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Halloween Story Time, for ages 5 to 7, meets Monday, Oct. 27, at 6 p.m.
  • Comics Club, for grades 6 and up, meets Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 3:30 p.m.
  • Computer Basics class is slated for Mondays in November from 6 to 7 p.m.
  • A representative of the Newark Museum presents an overview of the museum’s vast decorative arts collection Thursday, Oct. 23, at 6 p.m.

For more information, call the library at 201-955-5640. Registration is required, unless otherwise noted.

North Arlington Woman’s Club sponsors a beefsteak fundraiser Friday, Oct. 24, 7 to 11 p.m., at the Knights of Columbus hall, 194 River Road. Tickets are $40. Proceeds benefit various local charities. For tickets and more information, call Christine at 201-577-1088 or Fran Sardoni at 973-818- 6421.


Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Drive, offers the following programs:

  • Cook-with-a-Book Reading Club. for grades 4 to 6, meets Friday, Oct. 24, at 3:30 p.m. The group will discuss a book and cook up something fun to eat. Registration is required.
  • Halloween Costume Party is slated for Monday, Oct.27, at 6:30 p.m. Registration is required.
  • Teen Zombie Night, open to grades 7 to 12, will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 6:30 p.m. This event includes zombie costume contest, pizza, games and a movie.
  • Pumpkin Painting, with pumpkins and supplies provided, is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 30, at 10:30 a.m. Wear an old T-shirt and bring a box to take your pumpkin home. This is open only to Nutley residents with library card. Registration is required.

For more information, call 973-667-0405.

Meet the ‘Ambassadors’


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


Ambassadors and Knights walk the halls at East Newark Elementary School.

Well, actually, the Ambassadors do a lot of sitting and talking, while the Knights are busy mostly outdoors.

Explanation: the Ambassadors are older students who are part of an experiment to bolster the reading readiness skills of younger children through one-on-one tutoring sessions at the end of the school day.

And the Knights are also part of an elite group: They’re members of the first intramural soccer squad that veteran borough observers can remember functioning in many years, if at all.

Both programs came to life under the watch of Patrick Martin, the new superintendent/ principal of the borough’s only school, although Martin credits school psychologist Shelley Harrison for recommending the student tutorials as a way of breaking through the language barriers that many of the school’s ethnically diverse population face.

Because a significant number come from families whose primary language is something other than English – mostly Spanish and Portuguese – the kids are up against it when it comes to getting English homework help at home, especially if one or both parents are working the night shift, said Jeanine Cruz, now in her 15th year as a basic skills teacher in East Newark.

And that impacts kids’ performance on standardized tests, not only in Language Arts but also in math, since arithmetic word problems can be tricky without a full understanding of the words.

Enter the Ambassadors.

Every Monday to Thursday, from 3 to 4 p.m., nine students from grades 7 and 8 are matched up, individually, with youngsters from grades 1 to 4 and convene in the school cafeteria to work together.

For the first 40 minutes, the younger kids read aloud from a grade-level classroom text to their tutors, who encourage them to sound out a tricky word, break it into syllables and check for comprehension. After a snack, the tutors will spend 20 minutes guiding the younger ones through their reading homework.

Generally, Cruz said, “The little ones are excited to be working with the older students. They feel special. … They see their tutors as positive role models. They’re very chatty and smiling with them.”


Photos courtesy Shelley Harrison TOP: Tutor Elijah Brown (r.) reviews reading sample with Keanu Vargas. MIDDLE: Sharing a light moment, from l., are school psychologist Shelley Harrison, students Monica Arce, Daveed Alverio and Angela Arca and PE teacher/soccer coach Michael Caravalho. The students are ambassadors and players on intramural soccer team. BOTTOM: Model of soccer shirt.

Photos courtesy Shelley Harrison
TOP: Tutor Elijah Brown (r.) reviews reading sample with Keanu Vargas. MIDDLE: Sharing a light moment, from l., are school psychologist Shelley Harrison, students Monica Arce, Daveed Alverio and Angela Arca and PE teacher/soccer coach Michael Caravalho. The students are ambassadors and players onintramural soccer team. BOTTOM: Model of soccer shirt.


“Research shows that [working together] also helps the tutors by boosting their self-esteem,” Harrison said. Several of the tutors have brought in their own smart boards as a resource tool, she noted.

The nine tutors are: Monica Arce, Elijah Brown, Janeth Medieta, Daveed Alberio and Angela Arca, all seventhgraders; and Layza Espichan, Virginia Sacramento, Joselyn Gutierrez and Jenna Vieira, all of grade 8.

The tutorees were selected by classroom teachers while 17 students volunteered to be tutors after getting their parents’ consent and then school staff picked nine, based on high academic performance, teacher recommendations and an interview.

Eighth-grader Virginia Sacramento, who is tutoring a third-grader, said she’s happy to have been chosen because, “I love leading people in different things,” even though, she said, people tend not to see her in that light.

Even before, she said, “I was helping some of the kids in class with math, even though I don’t always understand a problem. I enjoy trying to work it out.” (A tutor training worksheet that school staff share with the students advises: “Always ask a teacher for help if you need it.”)

Fellow tutor Elijah Brown, a seventh-grader, recalled how sometimes, when he was younger, he and his older sister “played the game of teacher. On days when I was sick and not in school, she’d pull me aside for two hours and start teaching me.”

Had he resented her intervention? No way, said Elijah, also a member of the school’s Pre-Chemistry Club. “Without her, a lot of the knowledge I have today, I wouldn’t have.”

As he’s working with his fourth-grader, he uses his smart board to “write out a word and separate it into its different parts,” along with how words sound. Elijah believes his tutoree is “getting better” with his help. And, he said, “I’m very grateful because I’m doing something that’s actually useful instead of just reading myself.”

Then there are the Knights, formed at Martin’s behest, both to offer some measure of intra-scholastic athletic competition in soccer and as a morale builder for middle schoolers.

Thirty-three kids from grades 6, 7 and 8 took up the challenge, even though “very few” of them had previously played the sport, according to coach Michael Caravalho, the school’s physical education instructor and a volunteer coach for the Kearny Kardinals Junior Varsity soccer team for the past three years.

Why soccer and why so many? “That’s what the kids want,” said Martin, “so they flock to it.”

The kids play – so far, only among themselves – at the borough’s soccer field next to Borough Hall, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 4 to 5 p.m., but that could change soon. The Harrison school district has offered the use of its turf field for middle school soccer play, thereby suggesting the possibility of inter-scholastic play for the first time.