web analytics

Author Archive

Obesity is nationwide threat to health

There are 1 billion overweight individuals worldwide who add to society’s modern epidemic: obesity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has tracked the cumulative weight gain of our society by state. Results can be viewed at: www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/ trends.html.

The findings point to the fact that nearly three out of four Americans are presently overweight and this obesity epidemic has become so severe that the CDC now refers to our society as “obesogenic” – or one that promotes increased food intake, nonhealthy foods, and physical inactivity.

Things are so bad that our government has created a task force to combat obesity called “The Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity” (DNPAO). Despite such concerns, public schools are dropping physical education classes, community recreational centers are closing, and fast-food chains are popping up at an alarming rate. The situation is so bad that doctors and scientists alike point their finger at obesity as the root cause of our national healthcare crisis.

Consider: In a 2007 study conducted by The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services it was reported that:

• 80% of type II diabetes is related to obesity.

• 70% of cardiovascular disease is related to obesity.

• 42% of breast and colon cancer cases are diagnosed among obese individuals.

• 26% of obese people have high blood pressure.

These figures clearly show that obesity is far too common in our society. The problem has become so worrisome that President Obama addressed the issue in a nationally televised speech. The moral is simply this: We as a people must stand up against obesity by learning to adopt healthy eating habits. Combined with exercise, such a change will place us firmly on the path to longevity.

Please submit questions to: Dr. Diego Ruiz, 582 Franklin Ave., Nutley, N.J. 07110 973-661-4601 or Dr.Ruiz@OptionsRehab. com


Dr. Diego Ruiz

A graduate of Life University’s School of Chiropractic, Dr. Ruiz is the founder and rehabilitation director of Options Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Center. An active member of the local community, Dr. Ruiz is fluent in Spanish, and, with his wife Rosalie, founded AUTISM ANGELS, which is a charity that supports economically challenged parents of children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. He is certified in Manipulation Under Anesthesia, Diagnostic Nerve Conduction Testing, and Active Release Technique. Dr. Ruiz is also a contributing health columnist for various publications.

Resident, local businessman implicated in drug sales

By Ron Leir

NUTLEY – A two-year investigation by the Nutley Police Dept. concluded Jan. 12 with the arrest of a resident and a local businessman who’ve been implicated in a drug dealing scheme.

On the night of Jan. 12 police arrested Thomas Giardina, 55, of Nutley, and John Pino, 38, who lives in Union and runs a business in Nutley, on various drug-related charges.

Armed with a search warrant, Nutley Police – accompanied by Essex County Sheriff’s Officers and a K-9 unit – searched Giardina’s Essex St. home and found “several thousand dollars worth” of drugs, which police seized.

Police also impounded a 2000 Pontiac that they said Giardina was using.

On the basis of a lengthy investigation, police said they believed that Giardina, who works as a painter, was dealing prescription narcotics and cocaine from his Nutley home. “We’ve had him in our crosshairs for some time,” one detective said.

Giardina was charged with five counts of drug distribution, two counts of drug possession and three counts of possession of drug paraphernalia for distribution and was ordered held at the Essex County Jail, Newark, in lieu of $175,000 bail.

Through their investigation, police said they determined that Pino was an accomplice in the illicit drug enterprise. Police said Pino’s business is legitimate but declined to identify it.

Police said a search of Pino’s Nutley business on Franklin Ave. turned up additional drugs – cocaine and a series of prescription medications – which police confiscated.

Pino was charged with two counts of drug possession, drug possession with intent to distribute, drug possession with intent to distribute within 500 feet of a school, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a prohibited weapon. He was released pending a court hearing.

Nutley Police Director Alphonse Petracco said: “Drugs will not be tolerated in this town any longer.” He joined Police Chief John Holland in commending the Detective Bureau for its investigative work.

In an apparently unrelated drug case, on Jan. 9 at 9:00 p.m., police arrested Massimo Luele, 34, at his River Road home in Nutley on charges of possession of drugs near a school, possession with intent to distribute, possession of hypodermic needles and possession of drugs. He’s being held at Essex County Jail, Newark, on $125,000 bail with no 10% cash option.

Petracco reiterated that these arrests are meant to let suspected drug offenders “know we intend to go after them if they bring, sell or use drugs in our town.”

In other criminal activities logged by Nutley Police during the past week:

Jan. 12

At 8:13 p.m., a Cedar St. resident reported that someone, who identified themselves as a Microsoft representative, called to clean the resident’s computer. The resident gave the caller her credit card information, only to discover that the call was fraudulent. She told police she canceled her card.

At 4:16 p.m., a PSE&G worker reported a Caterpillar Track Loader had been stolen from a work site on Cook Road. Police are investigating.

At 11:53 a.m. the manager of a local confectionary store on Franklin Ave. reported that someone had made a transaction using a $100 bill that turned out to be counterfeit. Police are checking into the situation.

Jan. 11

At 12:45 p.m., police pulled over the driver of a 1998 Nissan along Rt. 21 who was wanted by Bergen County authorities. Alix Elie, 52, of Belleville, was held at headquarters for pickup by Bergen County Police. It couldn’t be learned why Elie was being sought.

At 9:28 a.m., police stopped another motorist on Rt. 21 wanted by Tinton Falls authorities on outstanding warrants. Rui Lopes, 21, of New Rochelle, N.Y., was released after posting $300 bail.

Jan. 10

At 8:12 p.m., a Friedland Road resident reported that the side view mirror on their 2008 Nissan Wagon was gone. The resident was unsure whether it had been knocked off by a passing vehicle or removed.

At 12:21 a.m., police went to a parking lot on Franklin Ave. near Harrison St. to check on a report of a fight. They learned that two men had been fighting and one had bitten the other. Police advised them of their right to sign complaints and let them go.

Jan. 9

At 6:47 p.m., two Nutley teenage girls were reported missing after they failed to show up for school earlier that day. Investigation disclosed that one of the teens had befriended a boy from Morris County online and took a bus to meet him. Police eventually located the girls – unharmed – in Totowa. Police said the boy allegedly hid the girls in his garage. One of the girl was released to the custody of her parents, who’d gone to Totowa to search for their daughter and her friend. Nutley detectives took the other girls home. Authorities are exploring whether to bring charges against the boy, police said.

At 10:02 a.m., a Newark Ave. resident told police a hard luck story. The resident had paid a contractor $5,000 to do a job nearly six months ago but the job has remained undone and no sign of the contractor. Police advised the resident how to sign the appropriate complaints.

At 10:00 a.m., an employee of a Washington Ave. business told police someone had stolen a luggage bag containing several manuscripts from near his work locker. Police are investigating.

Jan. 8

At 8:06 p.m., a Howe St. resident notified police about a possible scam. The resident said someone called from Texas asking for personal identifying information over the phone so that the resident could claim $2.5 million in winnings. Police said they were unable to make contact with the caller.

At 6:09 p.m., police drove to a Franklin Ave. residence after someone called about water pouring from the east side of the building. Police and firefighters managed to get inside and shut off the water. Township code offi cials are following up.

Jan. 7

At 4:43 p.m., a Swathmore Drive resident called to report someone had scrawled drawings on her garage door. Police are investigating.

At 2:24 p.m., Raymond Ave. parents reported their 12-yearold son missing when he reportedly slept out without notifying them. Detectives managed to learn where the boy was through a cell phone location and found him safe with friends on Hawthorne Ave.

At 11:12 a.m., a Ridge Rd. resident called police to report the disappearance of an illuminated Christmas tree from the front of the house.

Jan. 6

At 10:12 p.m., a tenant’s complaint of no heat brought police to a Centre St. apartment building to investigate. Police were told there were small children living in a heatless apartment. Police advised the landlord and referred the complaint to township code offi cials.

At 9:04 p.m. police repeatedly warned a youth not to recklessly skateboard along Centre St. before notifying the youth’s parents.

At 8:03 p.m., an attendant at a Centre St. gas station told police that a driver in a red pickup had sped away after getting gas and not paying. Police are investigating. At 3:43 p.m., a resident complained to police that several items were missing from their car after it was detailed at a local car wash. Police are investigating.

At 3:29 p.m., police went to a Colonial Terrace location to check on the report of a fi ght. Reports indicate that two brothers were quarreling and that one of them jumped on the hood of the other’s vehicle as it was moving and that he fell off, causing a minor injury.

At 12:49 p.m., police met with administrators at Nutley High School after it was determined that one of the students was stealing items from various lockers. Charges are pending. At 3:15 a.m., police went to a Centre St. eatery on a report of an unruly patron. Police persuaded the customer to leave without further trouble.

Belleville police go high tech to search for missing children

Belleville Police Department’s Chief of Police Joseph P. Rotunda has formalized an agreement with the A Child is Missing Alert Program. That has led to a high tech method now in place to search locally for missing children, missing elderly (often with Alzheimer’s), college students, and missing person who may be mentally or physically challenged or disabled.

Effective Feb, 1, 2012 upon receipt of missing persons calls, the Belleville Police Dept. will make its f irst phone call to a toll-free number that rings in Ft. Lauderdale Fl. – the national headquarters of the A Child is Missing Alert Program.

The call, answered around the clock by an information and mapping technician, initiates a rapid process of information gathering and use of sophisticated mapping systems. A Child is Missing then launches potentially thousands of calls within minutes with an alert message detailing the missing person’s description, last known whereabouts and pertinent information. This alert message will also include a Belleville Police Department phone number for use by anyone with information relating to the missing person.

This program is a free service to law enforcement. Belleville officials will evaluate each potential activation of the A Child is Missing Alert Program to ensure the application is appropriate to the case and to ensure the system is optimally used.

Phone numbers that are called by the program include listed numbers and mobile numbers available to ACIM in the selected area. Mobile numbers, unlisted numbers, broadband/voiceover IP numbers, or TDD/ TTY devices can be added to ensure that they, too, are called in the event of an alert. To enter your cell phone, unlisted, broadband/ voice-over IP or TDD/TTY device number visit www. achildismissing.org and click on “add your name” to enter your name, number and address. This information will only be used for emergency message alerts.

Suspects linked to series of robberies & attacks in West Hudson towns

HARRISON – Police say three men arrested in Harrison on Jan. 11 are believed to have participated in three recent robberies – two in Harrison and one in Kearny.

Two of the three are suspects in another Harrison robbery.

Tyrome Bush, 19, of Newark, Andrew Leverson, 26, of East Orange, and Richard Avent, 21, of Irvington, have been committed to the Hudson County Jail, Kearny, each on bail of $250,000 pending prosecution.

The first incident took place on Jan. 6 when a Warren St. resident of Harrison was robbed and assaulted in front of his home by two men at about 10:43 p.m. The victim told police that two men – later identified as Leverson and Avent – approached him and demanded money, then searched his pockets, took his cellular phone and backpack and stabbed him once in each of his legs before running away.

He was taken to University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey Hospital, Newark, for treatment.

On Jan. 11 at 5:25 p.m. police located the victim of a stabbing on Central Ave. in Harrison. Before being transported to UMDNJ Hospital, the victim told police that three men attacked him as he was walking in the area of N. Fifth St. and Cross St. He said his assailants took his cellular phone and repeatedly stabbed him about his stomach and chest.

Shortly afterward, the Kearny Police Dept. alerted police in surrounding communities that a robbery, reportedly involving three men, had occurred in Kearny.

Then, at about 6 p.m., Harrison Police got a report of another robbery in the area of Seventh and Ann Sts. The victim told police he was repeatedly hit by three men who stole his cellular phone and a bag he was carrying.

Soon after that incident, Harrison Police located three men matching the description given by the victims in the area of Harrison Ave. and Church Square. Police said the men tried to flee while discarding a stolen cellular phone and a set of metal knuckles which police recovered as evidence.

While being held at Harrison Police Headquarters, the three men – Bush, Leverson and Avent – were identified by the victim of the robbery that had taken place in Kearny and were then arrested and taken into custody by Kearny Police.

As the three were interrogated during the night at Kearny Police Headquarters, police said they admitted that they participated in the two Jan. 11 Harrison robberies and the robbery in Kearny and they were charged in connection with those incidents. And, in the morning hours, after extracting more information, police charged Leverson and Avent with the Jan. 6 robbery in Harrison.

Here are other cases logged during the past week by Harrison Police:

Jan. 10

Police arrested William Couch, 45, and his brother Brian Couch, 50, both of Harrison, as police conducted a motor vehicle stop after the brothers had left Bryan’s Cleveland Ave. residence in his car. Bryan was charged with driving while suspended, receiving stolen property and possession of drug paraphernalia and a crack pipe found in his pocket upon his arrest, and released pending court action. William was charged with conspiracy to commit burglary and receiving stolen property and held at the Hudson County Jail, Kearny.

The brothers’ arrest stems from the arrest on Dec. 23, 2011, of Christopher Lindsay, 22, of Harrison, on charges of burglarizing two Cross St. homes and burglarizing a house under construction on Sixth St. Investigation led detectives to believe that William Couch, Lindsay’s stepfather, prompted Lindsay to commit the Sixth St. burglary. Investigation also revealed that William Couch and Bryan Couch sold the items taken in that burglary – copper pulled from baseboard heating units – to a Newark scrap yard.

Four vehicles parked in a private parking lot at Railroad Ave. and Second St. were broken into. The thief got away with compact discs, loose change, sunglasses and a GPS unit. A 1996 Honda Civic reported stolen from a private parking lot on Railroad Ave. was recovered Jan. 12 in Newark.

Jan. 9

Someone broke into a 2008 Saab while it was parked on Bergen St. under Rt. 280. Nothing was reported stolen.

Jan. 8

A 2012 Honda Accord parked on Bergen St. under Rt. 280 was broken into and a GPS unit was removed.

Luis Octavio Sumba, 20, of Newark, was arrested on charges of burglary and resisting arrest after police say he was discovered to have illegally entered the Red Bull Arena.

Gerard Ingacastillo, 25, of Newark, was arrested on charges of DWI after he was found asleep in his car w hile it was parked on the sidewalk on Frank Rodgers Blvd. South.

A 2004 Chevrolet Silverado was broken into while it was parked on Warren St. under Rt. 280 and a portable GPS unit was stolen. A 1999 Lexus was broken into while it was parked on Passaic Ave. under Rt. 280 and a 9-inch TV was taken.

A pedestrian walking in the area of Frank Rodgers Blvd. South and Railroad Ave. was robbed of her cellular phone by an unknown man who threw her to the ground and ran away.

Jan. 7

Alfredo Guartazaca, 39, of Newark, was arrested on a DWI charge after police say he was seen driving erratically on Frank Rodgers Blvd. South.

Someone broke into a 2000 Honda Civic, parked on Passaic Ave. under Rt. 280, and removed a GPS unit.

Three vehicles parked in the area of Third and Warren Sts. were broken into. The intruder got away with loose change and an Apple iPod.

A thief stole a 1998 Honda Civic parked on the 200 block of Sussex St.

Jan. 6

A Toyota Previa parked under Rt. 280 on Warren St. was broken into and a camcorder, sub-woofer and laptop computer were stolen.

A 1996 Honda Civic was stolen from a public parking lot on First St. during the daylight hours.

Finding some tax breaks

By Randy Neumann

U.S. Representative Rob Portman (R-OH) recently said, “The income tax code and its associated regulations contain almost 5.6 million words – seven times as many words as the Bible. Taxpayers now spend about 5.4 billion hours a year trying to comply with 9,000- plus pages of tax laws.”

Yes, the Internal Revenue Code is voluminous, but it is not all bad. In fact, some of it is good for the taxpayer; you just have to know where to look. As an example, you can write a check that is income tax deductible to reduce the public debt that was, at the time of this writing, in excess of $14 trillion. All you have to do is make your check payable to “Bureau of the Public Debt” and send it to: Bureau of the Public Debt, Department G, PO Box 2188, Parkersburg, WV 26106-2188.

Of course, contributions to reduce the public debt are subject to the rules and limitations for charitable contributions, and they can be mailed with your tax return or independently. What follows is a list of some deductions that you might find helpful.

One is hosting an exchange student. Do you have a student living with you under a formal agreement with a qualified organization that exists to provide educational opportunities for that student? Is that student a full-time student at a U.S. high school or secondary school? Is he or she not your dependent or relative? If you host an exchange student, all of this may apply. If it does apply, you are eligible for a tax credit of $50 for each month the student lives with you (15 or more days of a month count as a full month).

A tax credit is not a deduction. It is better than a deduction. It is a dollar for dollar refund of taxes due.

It pays to volunteer. Volunteer work in itself will not provide you with a tax break; however, you may be able to deduct 14 cents per mile on your 2011 federal return for charity-related mileage or the cost of the gas you used while driving on behalf of the charity, whichever is greater. You can also deduct the cost of tolls and parking related to your driving.

Away from the driver’s seat, you can also characterize the out-of-pocket expenses you pay on behalf of a charity or qualified non-profit organization as charitable deductions (if the organization hasn’t reimbursed you for them). Buying equipment for the charity, buying office supplies or stamps, buying and cleaning uniforms – these are just some of the expenses that are deductible.

Next topic is travel expenses related to medical care. IRS Publication 502 states that you may deduct 16.5 cents per mile on trips you take to obtain medical care for yourself or your dependents. The trip has to be “primarily for, and essential to, medical care.”Bus, taxi, plane and train fares, and ambulance service fees all count as expenses toward the deduction as long as the travel was for medical care.

Parents transporting children who need medical care and nurses traveling with a patient can also claim the deduction. Also, some who qualify for this deduction may also get a tax break of up to $50 per night for lodging related to trips taken for health care.

Did you buy a house, an RV or a boat in 2010? You may be able to exploit state or local income tax deductions. Only seven states don’t have state income tax (Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming). Tennessee and New Hampshire merely tax forms of dividends and interest.

In certain cases, you can deduct the cost of a safe deposit box rental. The IRS says you can if you rent the safe deposit box to store taxable incomeproducing stocks, bonds or investment-related papers and documents. Sorry, if you store tax-exempt securities, jewelry or other personal items in the box, you can’t exploit the deduction.

The Saver’s Credit is the up-to-$1,000 tax credit that you may be able to claim if you contributed to an IRA or qualified employersponsored retirement plan like a 401(k) or 403(b) last year. Your AGI (adjusted gross income) has to fall below a certain level to claim it. For 2010, those levels were $55,500 (married filing jointly), $41,625 (head of household) and $27,750 (single, married filing separately or qualifying widower). The credit can be as large as $2,000 for joint filers!

Did you pay a tax professional in 2010 to prepare your 2009 tax return? The IRS commonly lets you deduct the fees you paid to such professionals. The cost of tax preparation software and tax publications counts toward the deduction, and so do efiling fees.

Many more deductions are available. For a long list of potential tax breaks, see IRS Publication 529 at www.irs.gov/ publications/p529/ar02.html. See your tax professional to determine whether you qualify for some of these obscure deductions and credits.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for the individual. Randy Neumann CFP® is a registered representative with securities and insurance offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC. He can be reached at 12 Route 17N, Suite 115, Paramus, 201-291-9000.


Mary Beth Arrigo

Mary Beth Arrigo “Mimi,” 46, died on Jan. 11 at St. Michael’s Hospital. Mimi was a lifelong resident of Kearny. She was an assembler for Pathways to Independence in Kearny and was an avid Giants and Mets fan. She belonged to the organization Hands of North Arlington.

Predeceased by her parents Paul and Mary Arrigo, she is survived by her siblings Paul Arrigo (Kelly), Kevin Arrigo (Christine), and Caroline Paris (Derrick). She was the dear niece of Sis Roarty. She left behind many loving nieces, nephews and friends especially the Yakabofski and Thompson Family.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass was held at St. Stephen’s Church in Kearny. Interment was in Holy Cross Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Pathways to Independence. Condolences may be left at www.armitagewiggins.com.

William A Barrett Jr.

William A Barrett Jr. of Tucson, Ariz., died suddenly on Dec. 12, 2011. He was 67.

Born in Newark, he grew up in Kearny. He lived and worked in New Jersey, Minnesota and Alabama before moving to Arizona. His fondest Kearny memories include summers spent in Wiley Playground.

A memorial Mass will be held in St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny, on Saturday, January 21st, at 10:30 a.m.

Interment of his ashes will follow in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington, in the family plot.

Bill was educated in St. Cecilia’s, St. Peter’s Prep, NJIT and Rensselear Polytech Institute before returning to NJIT where he receiving his Doctorate in electrical engineering.

Bill was predeceased by his parents William and Mary Barrett. He is the loving big brother of Mary Barrett and the late Kathleen Buchanan Jordan. He is survived by his wife Jean and his children William III, Aileen, Patrick and Sarah; also surviving are 11 grandchildren and his niece and nephews Megan, Jonathan and Brian.

Alice P. Hahn

Alice P. Hahn died at home in Safety Harbor, Fla. on Nov. 19.

She is survived by a son Dr. Wayne Appleton of West Virginia, a daughter Alyce Donnelly of Florida, a stepdaughter Colleen Kelly of New Jersey, a stepson Jacob Hahn of New Jersey, a stepdaughter Bonnie Patterson of Missouri, eight grandchildren and two great -grandchildren.

William J. Higney

William J. Higney, 47, died on Friday, Jan. 6.

Arrangements were by from the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral liturgy was offered at St. Cecilia Church, followed by private cremation. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thiele-reid.com.

William was born in Jersey City and was a lifelong resident of Kearny.

He was employed as a carpenter for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local Union 608 in New York as well as a proud member of the Irish American Club, the Scots- American Athletic Club and the Thistle F.C. all of Kearny.

William is survived by his daughters Jessica Higney and Jaiden Higney; parents Owen and Sarah (Mitchell) Higney, siblings Esther Jewart (Timothy), Mary Evanchick (Mark) and Peter Higney. He was the uncle of Ryan Jewart and Madelyn Evanchick.

Raymond J. Migatulski

Raymond J. Migatulski, 77, of Kearny, formerly of Wilkes Barre, Pa., passed away peacefully at home on Monday, Jan. 9, after a long courageous battle with cancer.

The funeral will be conducted from Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison. A funeral Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Kearny, followed by interment at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.

Ray proudly served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was a tool and die maker for Universal in Irvington.

Ray is a member of the N.R.A, the Elks of Lacey Township and C.W.V.

Ray is the beloved husband of Joan (nee Harland), devoted father of Marla and husband Robert Check, and step-son Scott Boyle. He is also survived by a large extended family.

Ray was predeceased by step-daughter Michele Boyle.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the N.R.A. or C.W.V., c/o the funeral home in memory of Ray.

Edgar Smith

Edgar Smith died on Jan. 13 at Clara Mass Hospital. He was 63. Born in Kearny he lived the past 10 years in North Arlington.

Arrangements were by Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. Cremation will be private.

Ed is survived by his wife Judith (nee DiSalvo), his children Edward (Dawn) and Lori (Mike). His sisters Barbara Currie, Edie Keating and Norma Boyle and his grandchildren Savannah, Connor, Chase, Amber and Vinny. He was predeceased by his daughter Debra.

Joseph A. Stuart

Joseph A. Stuart, age 75 of Effort, Pa., formerly of Kearny, passed away surrounded by his loving family on Thursday, Jan. 12 at the VNA Hospice House of Monroe County In East Stroudsburg, Pa.

Joe was the loving and devoted husband of Diane L. (Smith) Sniffin Stuart. They celebrated their 16th Wedding Anniversary on June 10.

He was born in Jersey City, on August 12, 1936 and the son of the late Allan and Jane (Toal) Stuart.

Joe graduated from the Kearny High School and attended Essex County Community College.

Joe spent 32 years in the demanding and courageous work of a firefighter retiring as Captain in 1992 from the Kearny Fire Department in Kearny. As a dedicated firefighter he ran numerous fire prevention programs for children. He also received many awards In 1985, he received Fireman of the Year from the Knights of Columbus, an Outstanding Fireman Award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and from the Hudson County American Legion. He was a member of the Fireman’s Mutual Benevolent Association Local #500 all in Kearny.

Joe was an avid Boston Red Sox and Indianapolis Colts fan. Help us to keep his memory alive in the places and activities he loved in this life. He loved animals and traveling with his wife Diane to purchase antiques for their Pyramid Antiques Barn in Effort.

Joseph was a member of Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Gilbert.

He served our country with dedication and courage in the United States Army in the states as a Military Police Officer.

We have been blessed with the presence of Joe in our lives and his wit and antics will be missed by all who knew and loved him, especially his loving wife Diane; his children: Joanne Armitage and her husband John of Effort; Stephen Stuart and his wife Debbie of Nutley; and Beverly Aprill and her husband Kevin of Brodheadsville; his stepchildren: Michael Sniffin of Effort; Russell “Rusty” Sniffin and his wife Diane of Kannapolis, N.C.; and Traci Dannenfelser and her husband Michael of Brockton. He was a loving and gentle grandfather to his grandchildren who loving called him Bup and Pa-Pa: Daniel, Andrew and Nancy Armitage, Michael Smith, Cassandra, Shane, Kaity, and Krysti Sniffin, Dylan, Jonathan and Mason Dannenfelser; his great-grandchildren: Brianna and Olivia Armitage, Jocelyn Smith and Ayden and Jaylie Sniffin. Joe is also survived by a sister: Rose Mary Myles and her husband Peter; a brother: Terry Stuart and his wife Nancy all of Forked River; and several nieces and nephews.

Joe was preceded in death by his first wife: Nancy Stuart and his siblings: Sandra Rosenback and Huey Stuart.

Funeral services were held at the Donald N. Gower Funeral Home, Inc., Route 209, Gilbert, Pa., followed by private interment.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made In Loving Memory of Joseph A. Stuart to VNA Hospice House, 502 Independence Road, East Stroudsburg, Pa. 18301. www.gowerfuneralhome.com.

William J. Turonis

William J. Turonis, 69, died on Jan. 5 at New Grove Manor in East Orange. Before retiring, he was a truck driver for Bell Container in Newark. He was also a former usher for Queen of Peace Church.

Predeceased by his wife Roxanne and sister Jo Ann Haag, he is survived by his children Col. James, William, and Corinne Turonis; brother of Lydia Newton, Eugene Turonis, and Cheryl Manley. He is also survived by six grandchildren Kirsten, William, Dylan, Noah, Kira, and Emma.

Arrangements were by Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A memorial Mass for William and Roxanne Turonis was held at Queen of Peace Church, North Arlington, followed by interment in Arlington Cemetery, Kearny. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Queen of Peace Church. Condolences may be left for the family at www.armitagewiggins.com.

Kearny band is ‘Fighting for Fatima’

Photo by Stephanie Formoso/ I Am Fighting will be the lead band in Camp Fatima fundraiser.



Photo courtesy of Google Images/ Campers and volunteers at Camp Fatima.




By Anthony J. Machcinski


For over 40 years, the volunteers of Camp Fatima of New Jersey have spent summers providing a special place for children and adults with mental disabilities to have a truly unique experience. On Friday, Jan. 27, Camp Fatima will have its first CFNJ Benefit Rock Show.

Featuring a slew of talent, including Kearny’s own I Am Fighting and rock group The Tonight Life, “Fighting” for Fatima presents a great show for an even greater cause.

“I got the idea in August of this year while I was at Camp Fatima itself, hearing the director of the camp speak about how, although the camp is free to campers, fundraisers go on all year round to prepare for the upcoming summer,” said Joe Gehrmann, lead singer of I Am Fighting and counselor at Camp Fatima. “I told myself that moment that, the following year, I was going to throw a fundraiser with my band for the camp.”

The camp, which is free to all who attend, is a nonprofit organization that relies on donations from generous parties in order to survive. The camp itself is unique in its ability to offer one on one services to the disabled and provdes an overnight experience for the children and a bit of a respite for their parents.

“Once they see how wonderful the treatment for the kid is, they can’t wait to bring their kid back,” explained Camp Director Paul Murphy, who recounted a story of two parents who were able to go on a vacation for the first time in 25 years after having their daughter attend the camp.

Deciding which children will get into the two oneweek programs, is the sticky part of Murphy’s responsibility.

“Unfortunately, we cannot take everybody,” explained Murphy of the camp’s application process. “How we determine our numbers is based on the number of volunteer applications we have. Every child gets one counselor, almost like a big brother- big sister type of deal.”

The volunteers of this camp, who come every year to make the experience as great as it can be for its participants, are the ones who solidify the camp’s exceptional reputation.

“You watch and they do more and it’s selfless,” said Murphy, who started working with the camp in 1997 when his cousin, Eddie Raguseo, became a camper. “You want to help give in a way that you feel will be unique to each other.”

Photos courtesy Google Images and Stephanie Formoso


Photos courtesy Google Images and Stephanie Formoso/Top and bottom: Images from Camp Fatima.


Members of the band I Am Fighting posing with longtime Camp Fatima volunteers.


“No one gets paid,” said Harrison’s Nick Landy, a former Camp Director who got involved when he was in high school in 1986.

As for “Fighting” for Fatima itself, tickets for the show cost $15, with the proceeds going directly for the camp itself. The show, which will take place at Teaneck’s Mexicali Live, will feature two of the area’s Pop Rock bands, a must listen for anyone who enjoys good music. For those who may have missed the April edition of the Observer where I Am Fighting was previewed, or in the year end review where they received an award for Music Act Most Likely To Be Famous, I Am Fighting is a pop rock group featuring several songs containing emotionally powerful music that bleeds through many of the band’s tracks.

Joining them at Mexicali Live will be The Tonight Life. The Tonight Life, made up of guitarist Joe Crawford, bass player Kevin ‘Jazz’ Siedel, and vocalist Kim Crawford, matches the tone set by I Am Fighting and their powerful music. The Clifton-based band has a sound similar to the rock band Paramore.

The band’s up-tempo beat helps provide a foundation for Kim Crawford’s soft, but powerful, voice to take control of the crowd. Songs like Catching Fire and Right Through You showcase the band’s talent that will definitely be on display at Mexicali Live.

All proceeds will directly benefit the camp, which uses the money to allow free admission and cover the costs needed to feed and take care of the nearly 50 or 60 campers per week of the two-week camp.

While the experience provided is exceptional for the children attending, the volunteers derive a lot of happiness from being able to help out those in need.

“It changed my life in so many ways,” Gehrmann explained. “Everyone who does the camp will agree it is one of the best times of the year. You completely get lost in this world, forget about your job, your responsibilities, and anything else the current times offer.”

One factor keeps Gehrmann returning every year since he started in 2005.

“You experience friendship, love, and fun in the purest forms. Nothing else matters in the world for that one week,” Gehrmann explained.

To purchase tickets for “Fighting” for Fatima, please visit www.campfatimanj.org and click on “The CFNJ Benefit Rock Show” under Events. Tickets for the Jan. 27 event cost $15. Mexicali Live is located on 1409 Queen Anne Rd., Teaneck.

To donate to the camp itself, visit www.campfatimanj.org and on the right side of the page, click “Donate Online.”

Harrison scores windfall in tax rulling


Photo by Jim Henderson/ Looking east at Red Bull Arena on a sunny afternoon.


By Ron Leir

HARRISON – The New York Red Bulls major league soccer team has been dealt a deadly shutout by a civilian referee.

A year from the day the team went to court to challenge the host town’s demand that it pay real estate taxes on its stadium, Judge Christine Nugent, sitting in State Tax Court in Newark, ruled not only can the Red Bull Arena be taxed but also the land the Arena occupies.

Now the Red Bulls go from being a “free rider” to, potentially, the biggest taxpayer in Harrison.

The judge had previously concluded – in a separate ruling made last year – that the land was tax-exempt but on Friday, Jan. 6, in issuing her final decision, she reversed herself.

Ironically, in its legal arguments filed with the court, Harrison appeared to concede that the 12-acre parcel where the stadium sits should be tax-exempt because title to the land is held by the Harrison Redevelopment Agency, itself a tax-exempt public entity.

“It’s a grand slam for Harrison,” said Town Tax Assessor Al Cifelli.

Harrison says it’s entitled to $1,290,225 in taxes on the stadium for 2010, based on a partial assessment (it opened in March 2010) of about $22.1 million and an additional $1,867,477 (based on an assessment of $30 million) for 2011.

For the land, the town says it’s owed $215,863 in taxes for 2010 (based on an assessment of about $3.7 million) and an additional $227,413 for 2011.

Additionally, the town is awaiting payment of a $150,000-a –year rental fee for 2010 and 2011.

Thomas Denitzio, of the Woodbridge law firm Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith, & Davis who handled the case for the Red Bulls, couldn’t be reached for comment Friday. If the Red Bulls decide to challenge the court ruling, it will have to request a hearing from the state Appellate Court.

Kearny attorney Norman J. Doyle Jr., a tax specialist, was retained as special counsel by Harrison to present its case.

Cifelli, who attended Friday’s court session, said that it took Judge Nugent nearly two hours to read her decision into the record. A copy of the transcript wasn’t readily available.

Photo by Anthony J. Machcinski


In its complaint – filed against the Town of Harrison, the Harrison Redevelopment Agency and the Hudson County Improvement Authority – the Red Bulls asserted that the stadium is, in legal parlance, a “Property” and “Project” of the government entities that borrowed nearly $40 million to acquire the land, sub-leased the land to the team, and promoted the Red Bulls’ presence as a boost to the local economy, public recreation and tourism.

As a “public purpose” endorsed by those public entities, the stadium should be deemed tax-exempt, as provided by the state Redevelopment Law and state Improvement Authority Law, the Red Bulls reasoned.

Harrison, in its brief, countered that the stadium, notwithstanding certain “contractual and police” controls the Harrison Redevelopment Agency exercise over the Arena and despite any “intangible and unquantifiable benefits” the town may derive from it, the stadium – as a private, profit-making enterprise – “does not serve a public purpose” and, therefore, under a strict interpretation of state law, it shouldn’t qualify for tax-exempt status.

The court sided with Harrison.

Interpreting the court’s ruling, Doyle said that Judge Nugent agreed with the town that the stadium is taxable because it is a profit-making venture and that the land is also taxable even though it is owned by a public entity (the Redevelopment Agency) which exercised eminent domain to acquire the 12 acres and paid to clean it up, “once the stadium was built, the agency had no further role to play,” and, therefore, no longer had a “public purpose.”

The legal test of taxable vs. tax-exempt in cases of this type, Doyle said, is “where does the money go – admission tickets, concession revenues – to a public agency or to the person (or corporation) running the stadium. That’s the key.”

Doyle characterized the previous concessions by Harrison, the Harrison Redevelopment Agency and the HCIA that the land should be considered tax-exempt “collectively our error” and credited the judge with finding a legal basis for remedying that misinterpretation.

Harrison Mayor Ray McDonough said he was “pleased with the decision. We were always confident the ruling would go in Harrison’s favor. Now we’re just hoping the Red Bulls step up to the plate and meet their financial obligations to the town.”

Kearny DPW starts snow preparations


Photo by Anthony J. Machcinski/ The old West Hudson Hospital, now a nursing home, was scene of early morning blaze last week.


By Anthony J. Machcinski 

KEARNY— As the Northeast got hit with an arctic chill that produced wind chills in the low teens, many began to brace for snow that hasn’t hit the area since a freak Halloween weekend snowstorm.

While many in town fear that dreaded four-letter word, members of the Kearny Department of Public Works began to get ready for the inevitable snowfall that lurks in the near future.

With seven salt trucks and nine additional snowplow vehicles, the Kearny DPW needs less than an hour to get ready for a storm.

“Depending on the severity of the storm, the town takes about three to four hours to be cleared of about four inches of accumulation,” said DPW Superintendent Gerry Kerr. “It takes a lot longer, however, when there are six inches or more snow on the ground.”

According to the town of Kearny’s website, the DPW starts plowing municipal streets when snow accumulations reach two inches or more, and salt is applied on an as-needed basis.

“The hills on the west side of town and the main roads,” said Kerr concerning which roads are covered first. Kerr explained that the hills on the west side of town get icy quicker because of moisture coming from the river.

While the town is split into sections and covered by the DPW, several roads are taken care of by outside sources. These roads include Passaic Ave., Schuyler Ave., Fish House Rd., Central Ave. and Belleville Turnpike. These roads are covered by the Hudson County Road Department or, in the case of Belleville Turnpike, plowed by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

The town houses its rock salt in a shed that holds some 1500 tons of the ice-melting crystals. While that may seem like quite a bit of salt, for each snow event, the town generally goes through about 300 tons, according to Kerr.

“Depending on the event, we have to refill the trucks about every hour,” Kerr explained, saying that wet snow causes trucks to be filled about once an hour while if its colder and the snow is dry, it takes more salt and it is often less than an hour per refill.

The salt itself is shipped to ports in Newark and is then called in by the town.

So when the next big snowstorm hits the area, don’t get mad at the drivers who accidentally plow snow into your driveway. Instead, think about the sizeable area that they cover and the amount of effort it takes to plow the nearly 48 miles of town roads that you use on a daily basis.


Retired DEA agent charged in sexual abuse of minor


Photo courtesy Essex County Prosecutor’s Office/ Thomas Sheehan

By Jeff Bahr

NUTLEY— A retired DEA agent from Nutley has suddenly found himself on the wrong side of the bars for his alleged role in the sexual abuse of a teenage girl.

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murphy and Nutley Police Chief John U. Holland announced on December 6 that retired Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Special Agent Thomas Sheehan, 71, of Nutley, was arrested and charged with sexually abusing a teenage girl.

The arrest warrant was executed during the morning hours at Sheehan’s home in Nutley. The former agent was charged with sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and aggravated assault.

According to DEA N.J. Division spokesman, Douglas S. Collier, Sheehan retired from the agency in 1997. Collier wasn’t able to provide information pertinent to Sheehan’s current pension status, or whether or not it would be affected by his arrest and/or conviction.

The 17-year-old girl, described as “developmentally delayed” by authorities, was allegedly abused by Sheehan starting from the time that she was 12 and continuing until a date just prior to Christmas.

There is “documentation regarding her inabilities” said Nutley Detective Anthony Montanari when asked about the girl’s mental faculties. He added that “a series of attacks” had occurred during the five-year timeframe, and that the girl reported the abuse to an intermediary who then brought it to the attention of police.

If convicted on the most serious 2nd degree sexual assault charge, Sheehan would face from 5 to 10 years in prison – a sentence subject to the No Early Release Act, which mandates that he serve 85 percent of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

Sheehan posted $100,000 bail and was released.