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Old church now local landmark

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By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent  BELLEVILLE –  For the 13th straight year, as part of the Independence Day holiday observance, the Belleville Historical Society paid tribute to the Revolutionary War dead interred in the old Dutch Reformed Church cemetery and all the sons of Belleville who made the ultimate sacrifice in combat since then. This year, township residents were treated to a twopart celebration: On July 4, the Belleville Historic Preservation Commission designated the old church building – whose origin as the Reformed Dutch Church of Second River dates from 1697 – as a local landmark. Cemetery ceremonies were deferred to July 5 because of weather vagaries. Read more »

Industrial park on road to renewal

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

A long-derelict commercial site along the Belleville Turnpike is on the path to a rebirth as a “state-of-the-art” industrial park now that the Kearny Planning Board has cleared the way for a subdivision of a tract of land off the Pike.

Attorney Donald Pepe, representing the applicant, said the board’s approval marked “the first step in our redevelopment plan” for the 22-acre site formerly known as Jeryl Industrial Park that stretches up to Schuyler Ave. and borders on Arlington Park Cemetery.

Pepe told the board that granting the subdivision “provides an expedited path to redevelopment and remedial action …. We’re doing cleanup on a piece-by-piece basis to move the project along.” Read more »

Still working budget numbers

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

NORTH ARLINGTON – 

After a lot of partisan wrangling, much of it behind closed doors, members of the North Arlington governing body walked away from their June 30 meeting, having failed even to introduce the 2014 municipal budget.

And, when the smoke had cleared, Mayor Peter Massa had scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday, July 8, at 7:30 p.m., to discuss estimated tax bills and budgetary issues, according to borough Business Administrator Stephen LoIacono.

Borough spokesman Tom Ammirato said that the administration’s proposed 2014 municipal budget stands at $21.3 million, of which $16.62 million would be raised by local taxation. Last year’s municipal budget stood at $20.18 million, supported by $15.15 million in local taxation. Read more »

3rd grade ‘campus’ due this fall

By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

LYNDHURST – 

Third-graders in Lyndhurst public schools will be on the move when classes resume for the fall term in September.

They are being consolidated into one school – with a detached addition to Jefferson Community School at New York and Second Aves. – to reduce class size and to provide departmentalized instruction.

“We’re viewing this as a model pilot program,” said Schools Superintendent Tracey Marinelli.

The thinking among Lyndhurst educators was to reestablish a kindergarten, first and second grade “culture” and to set third-graders apart as a separate collective unit, the superintendent said. Read more »

Reports from the Kearny police blotter

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June 26 

At about 6 p.m., at Chestnut St. and Wilson Ave., Officers John Fabula and Daniel Esteves arrested shoplifting suspect William Ferguson, 49, of Newark, who allegedly had just fled on foot from Rite Aid on Kearny Ave. Ferguson was found to have warrants from Kearny, Maplewood, North Arlington and Union — all for shoplifting. He was remanded to the Hudson County Jail.

Richard Stevens, 28, of Kearny, who was wanted by Lyndhurst, Newark and Stafford Township, managed to call attention to his presence at Tappan St. and Davis Ave. at 8:45 p.m. by urinating in public, police said. He was taken into custody by Officers Jordenson Jean and Frank West, was issued a town ordinance violation and turned over to the Lyndhurst PD. Read more »

News from the Nutley police blotter

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June 29 

At 7:12 a.m., police responded to an activated burglar alarm at a barber shop at Centre St. and Bloomfield Ave. and noticed that the rear door was open. In the rear of the shop, police discovered a man holding a container of orange juice and a bottle of water. He was very wet and appeared to be highly agitated. Police also found a puddle of water and broken glass on the floor and the exterior basement doors open. Entering the basement, police saw water spraying from overhead copper pipes, the basement in disarray and extensive damage to both storefront rear entrances. Police said the man, identified as Joseph Deforge, 52, of Manville, was arrested on a warrant from Hillsborough. He was also charged with burglary, criminal mischief, two counts of burglary tools, theft and attempted burglary. He was held at the Essex County Jail after failing to post $75,000 bail. Read more »

Thoughts & Views: We can all learn from the ‘write’ stuff

In its July 1 editions, The New York Times reported that, starting this month, the Associated Press would use computer automation to “report” about companies’ quarterly earnings.

The computer software company, furnished with data from a research source, will spew out stories “written with the tone, personality and variability of a human writer,” according to the company’s website, The Times noted.

So, we’ll get dry corporate cash reports delivered with a poet’s touch. Sounds intriguing. Read more »

Canadian imports, especially ‘Rookie Blue,’ are keeping summers free of repeat TV

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By Kevin Canessa Jr.
Observer Correspondent

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a fan of good television. And you’re more than aware that for years, TV series stopped in the summer months — and were always marked by the shows you saw all winter long in repeats.

But thanks to several Canadian imports — most notably, “Rookie Blue,” – the summer months on network TV are no longer just repeats. In fact, in the case of “Rookie Blue,” the summer months offer some of the best TV of the entire year.

Most don’t even realize just how active the Canadian television show market is. In addition to “Rookie,” Canada also offers us the second-year cop drama “Motive,” which is wildly popular north of the border and here in the U.S. (But we’ll save “Motive” for another review.) Read more »

Have a wedding, lunch or dinner at one of Bergen County’s best, Il Villaggio

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By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent 

CARLSTADT – 

For years, it’s been known as one of the finest Italian restaurants in all of Bergen County. But there’s a little-known secret that Il Villaggio has also sported a banquet hall for weddings and special events for the last six years.

And owner Ralph Magliocchetti hopes people realize that whether it’s a fine lunch, dinner or special event — it can all happen at the ristorante he’s owned for the last 35 years.

“We do lunch during the week and dinner every night but Sunday,” he said.

So what sets him apart from other Italian restaurants? It’s the service and his staff he says.

“I have some waiters who have been with me for 25 … 30 years,” he said. “I have bartenders who have been with me 25 to 30 years. So when people come here, they know the people who will serve them. And the service is unmatched anywhere.”

That in and of itself is quite extraordinary, considering how in so many other establishments, there’s immense turnover. But there’s even more, he says.

“We’re most noted for our fish,” he said. “We use only the freshest and top-quality ingredients — and that certainly sets us apart from the rest.”

Beyond lunch, served weekdays from 11:30 a.m., and dinner, served weeknights from 3:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Saturdays from 5 to 11 p.m., Il Villaggio’s banquet halls, which opened six years ago, offer the perfect spot for a wedding, a prom, corporate events or any other type of large-scale event requiring catering.

There are rooms of varying sizes, including one that can hold more than 200 people. There are special packages for weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs and sweet 16s. There is a buffet menu — or there is a five- and six-course menu to choose from.

The buffet can include anything from a fruit display to a salad station to a carving station with London broil, Vermont turkey, glazed honey ham, boneless loin of pork to a pasta station with penne ala vodka, prosciutto and fennel, tortellini alla panna, cavatelli with broccoli, garlic and oil or farfalle pasta primavera. And then some.

There are also assorted veal and chicken dishes and an assortment of desserts.

All of these offerings are also available at the restaurant, also.

So if you’re looking for a spot for a wedding, a religious event, a corporate event — or if you’re simply craving a fine Italian meal without having to travel into Manhattan, give Il Villaggio a try — you simply won’t be disappointed.

“We were there just a few weeks and had a spectacular dinner,” said Ceil Cologne, 62, of Belleville, who dined at Il Villaggio with her husband and two dear friends last month. “And we just cannot wait to go back. Everything was tremendous from the start of the meal to the very end. And the atmosphere — oh, the elegance is just wonderful. We just love it there. “

And the best part is it’s all in our backyard — we don’t have to go all the way to the city for a classy dinner.”

Il Villaggio is located at 651 Rt. 17 N., Carlstadt. For additional information, call 201-935-7733 or visit www.ilvillaggio.com where you’ll find more photos and menus and where you’ll also be able to make a reservation.

Grateful for community outreach

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Members of the Hogan family and Burns family are extending their heartfelt thanks to all those friends, family and neighbors who contributed their time, and/or donated to the Hero for Owen Fundraiser on May 10 at the former Boystown facility in Kearny. In a joint statement, the families said: “We would like to recognize the local businesses who were an integral part of making this event a complete success, and without whom we could not have done this.”

Two-year-old Owen Hogan, son of a New York City firefighter, was diagnosed last year with severe aplastic anemia and was in need of a bone marrow transplant and blood transfusions.