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Author Archive

Then & Now

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This was one of those mystery postcards. ‘Midland Ave. looking Northwest, Arlington, N.J.’ it said. But looking northwest from where? Then, as luck would have it, we found a second image of the same scene, and it read ‘Midland Ave. from Franklin Place.’ Mystery solved. This the intersection that today faces the Post Office on Midland, and  the view is toward Belgrove Drive.

The card is dated 1908. It is difficult to tell if the street is paved, but it appears full of wagon or buggy tracks. But once again, we wonder: Where have they all gone? All these beautifully wide avenues, and no traffic of any kind anywhere in sight.

– Karen Zautyk 

Obituaries

Betty Hill 

Betty Hill, formerly Di Trolio, (nee Adamson) died peacefully at home on July 14. She was 86.

Born in East Orange, she lived many years in Kearny before moving to Seabrook Village in Tinton Falls.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. The funeral service was held at the funeral home, followed by entombment in the Di Trolio Family Mausoleum at Holy Cross Cemetery.

Betty was a 1949 graduate of the New York Phoenix School of Design, she was a member of the Arlington Woman’s Club and had been a member of the West Hudson Hospital Woman’s Auxiliary, both in Kearny. After moving to Seabrooke in 2005, Betty hosted a weekly television show every Tuesday. She was active in the Welcoming Committee. Betty loved her life at Seabrooke where she served as president of the Protestant Council and of the Advisory Council.

Betty was the wife of the late Dr. James Di Trolio and the late John H. Hill. She was the mother of the late James P. Di Trolio. She is survived by Gloria and Lois Corbo along with many nieces and nephews. Also surviving are so many dear friends in Kearny and Seabrooke. In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to The Protestant Community of Seabrooke.

Rita Ann Norton 

Rita Ann Norton, 65, a lifelong resident of Harrison, before moving to Kearny 10 years ago, passed away on July 14 at St. Michael’s Hospital, Newark, after a long illness.

Funeral services were under the direction of Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave. Harrison. A funeral Mass was celebrated at Holy Cross Church, Harrison. Her interment took place in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. For information please visit www.mulliganfuneralhome.org.

Rita was the daughter of the late John and Anna Norton (Ocavage).

She was the devoted sister of Dolores Gonzalez (Dennis), beloved aunt of Michael & Amanda Gonzalez, and a cherished cousin of Mary Beth Gerstenmier and her husband Rusty.

Rita was a member and Past Regent of Catholic Daughters Court Cecilia 11, she was a member of Holy Cross Arts & Crafts Group and also a member of Holy Cross Rosary Society. She worked as a computer programmer for Macy’s, Newark, retiring in 1995.

In her free time, she enjoyed arts and crafts. She especially enjoyed making Christmas ornaments and baby blankets. Her family will miss her excellent Christmas cookies. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate Mass Intentions in loving memory of Rita in care of Mulligan Funeral Home.

Pedro Perea 

Pedro Perea died peacefully at home, surrounded by his loving family. He was 79.

Born in Cordoba, Spain, he lived in Newark before moving to Kearny 48 years ago.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass was held at St. Cecilia’s Church, Kearny, followed by entombment in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.

Pedro was a model maker and jeweler for William Schraft Designs in Millburn. He is survived by his wife of 50 years Esperanza (nee Luque), his daughters and their husbands Mary and Serafim Monteiro and Mercedes and Jaime Lijo. Also surviving are his grandchildren Serafim, Sabrina, Christian and Sofia. He was predeceased by his grandson Justin.

In lieu of flowers, donations for Lymphoma research would be appreciated.

Dawn of an era

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By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent 

BELLEVILLE – 

“This is where it all started. Belleville, N.J. A thousand years ago. Eisenhower. Rocky Marciano. And a few guys under a streetlamp singing somebody else’s latest hit.”

That’s part of the intro to the Broadway production of “Jersey Boys” — and as soon as the town is mentioned, someone in the audience will applaud. Or shout a “Yo! Belleville!”

Belleville folk are proud of their home. And proud of the Jersey boys who made the big time. And some of them even can remember when the sounds of a summer night always included a few guys harmonizing under a streetlamp.

Which probably was somewhere in the area of Franklin St. and Watchung Ave. Read more »

New job for Doran … for now

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

HARRISON –

The Harrison Board of Education is working on plans to remedy overcrowding in its elementary schools but who exactly will be in charge of seeing those plans through isn’t clear as it continues to grapple with its leadership issue.

Its five-year contract with Schools Superintendent James Doran expired June 30 and, instead of reappointing him to that post, the board revived a position that has been vacant for several years – director of personnel/human resources/ compliance and crisis management – and named Doran to fill it at its meeting last Thursday.

“I want to thank the board for their continued faith in me,” Doran said during the board’s public session.

Karen Murray, the board’s labor attorney, said the board was still in negotiations on Doran’s new salary but Doran said it was likely to end up at “about $200,000,” which, he said, would represent a $42,000 cut from what he was earning as superintendent. At the same time, the board agreed to ask the state Commissioner of Education for a waiver of the state-mandated salary cap “for superintendent and acting superintendent.” Read more »

Suspect ID’d in bank heist

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By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

Authorities have identified a Paterson man as the prime suspect in the robbery of the PNC Bank at Kearny and Midland Aves. last Wednesday afternoon.

Kearny police reported on Friday that they were hunting Carnie Monts, 28, in connection with the hold-up, which occurred at 2:30 p.m., July 9. Officers have checked his residence on N. Third St. in Paterson “with negative results.”

Monts was identified after a joint investigation by the KPD, the FBI, the North Arlington PD and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.

According to the KPD, the robber entered the bank twice. He was first seen on security tapes at a customer counter, left the premises and returned shortly afterwards, this time with his face partially covered with what was thought to be a white Tshirt. Read more »

Aid will partly offset tax

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY –

Some good news for Kearny taxpayers: the town will be getting state transitional aid for 2014 and Mayor Alberto Santos said that means the anticipated hit for property owners won’t be as bad as expected.

How much that hit will be remained a bit murky, however, as The Observer went to press Monday. Santos and Town Council finance committee members were waiting for CFO Shuaib Firozvi to crunch the numbers to learn how the local municipal tax rate stands with the new revenue.

With the municipal budget introduced in March, an increase of about $4.3 million in local taxes was projected – an 11% hike – or about $417 on the “average” house assessed at about $95,000. As of last week, Santos was projecting “an increase of a little over 3%.” Read more »

Regional realtor board OKs merger

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

The Meadowlands Board of Realtors, which has served the needs of real estate agents and their customers in West Hudson and South Bergen for 93 years, is no more.

As of July 1, the group was merged with the Eastern Bergen County Board of Realtors, creating the third largest realtor association in New Jersey, with more than 3,300 members.

Only the North Central Jersey BOR, with 7,742 members, and Monmouth County BOR, with 5,635, are larger, according to EBCBOR spokeswoman Melissa Piccinich. NCJBOR’s territory takes in Essex, Union, Morris, Somerset, Hunterdon, Sussex and Warren counties.

Kearny realtor Scott Bixler of the Bixler Group and vice president of the MBOR, worked with MBOR President Nancy Lastra, a Rutherford realtor, in helping draft the merger agreement and Bixler will join the EBCBOR board in 2015. Read more »

Notes from the KPD blotter

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Regular readers of the Kearny police blotter know that the week’s entries would not be complete without a shoplifting incident at Walmart. This week, there are two, each of particular note.

The first occurred at 3:30 p.m. July 7, when an alleged shoplifter, confronted by store security, fled in a car, dragging one of the guards after it for some distance, police said. The guard, who reportedly was not injured, got the plate number, which was given to the KPD.

As soon as Officer John Fabula, driving on Bergen Ave., entered the information into a license plate database, he saw the auto in question pass by, heading in the opposite direction. He alerted other units, and the vehicle was again immediately spotted, this time by Officer Sean Kelly at Bergen and Schuyler Aves.

Kelly gave chase, bringing the car to a halt at Ivy and King Sts., where he arrested driver Pablito Santiago, 30, of Newark, who was charged with robbery, aggravated assault and weapons possession, the weapon being the car. Santiago was later transported to the Hudson County Jail. Read more »

Thoughts & Views: The thin blue line

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When the news first broke Sunday morning that a Jersey City police officer had been killed in the line of duty, word was that he had been responding to an armed robbery at a Walgreens drugstore.

Later that day, at a press conference, matters were clarified. Yes, a robbery had been reported. But the “suspect” made no attempt to flee. He waited outside the store for police to respond to the 911 call. And when the first radio car pulled up, he put a bullet in Officer Melvin Santiago’s head.

This was the deliberate targeting of a cop. Just because he was a cop. This was cold-blooded murder.

The killer fired at another patrol car, but was taken down by police before he could wound, or slaughter, any other officers.

On Sunday, the Officer Down Memorial Page (www.odmp.org) posted the following details:

“Police Officer Melvin Santiago was shot and killed at 4:09 a.m. when he and his partner responded to a robbery call at a 24-hour pharmacy on the corner of Communipaw Ave. and John F. Kennedy Blvd. Read more »

New principal welcomed

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Kearny native Ellen Naughton has been named principal of Queen of Peace Elementary School, 21 Church Pl., North Arlington, for the 2014-2015 academic year.

An alumna of Queen of Peace High School, Naughton received her undergraduate degree from Montclair State University and a master’s in educational leadership from Seton Hall University.

For the past 11 years, Naughton worked at St. Thomas the Apostle School in Bloomfield where she taught first, second and fifth grade. Naughton spent her early childhood years attending St. Stephen’s Elementary School in Kearny.

As a mother of four children and strong advocate for Catholic education, Naughton considers herself blessed to have had all her children attend both Catholic elementary school (St. Thomas in Bloomfield) and Catholic high school.

“I’m elated to return to the Queen of Peace family and along with a dedicated staff, I will strive to continue the legacy of success established at Queen of Peace,” she said.

Naughton replaces former principal Terri Suchocki, who retired in June after an 18-year tenure at the school.

For more information about Queen of Peace Elementary School, visit www.queenofpeaceschool.net or call 201- 998-8227.