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Tight lid on trash


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


Tired of seeing a plethora of overflow trash cluttering the sidewalks in the town’s retail district, especially after weekend deposits, Kearny is unleashing a new weapon to counteract the unseemly collections.

It’s the solar-powered Big- Belly trash receptacle. The town got four of the 4-footplus tall, hefty “cans” which, according to the vendor’s specifications, weigh in at a nifty 270 pounds apiece.

Kearny Health Officer Ken Pincus thinks they’ll make a huge difference over the old cans they’re replacing on Kearny Ave. because the cans are actually mini-compactors, crushing the mounds of garbage as they are tossed in by passers-by.

“Overflowing trash cans, litter and illegal dumping of trash have been a continual problem on the sidewalks and streets of the town of Kearny. The town needed a new tool to address this concern. The BigBelly Solar solution provides the town an efficient way to manage our waste collection that reflects the town’s overall commitment to sustainability while keeping our streets and sidewalks cleaner,” Pincus said.

Because the new cans are sealed, animals should have little chance to gain access and the stink from any overflow garbage should be significantly reduced, if not eliminated, he added.

Each of the can’s bins hold the equivalent of 33 gallons of trash – up to five times more than the capacity of the old cans – thanks to the internal compaction system, which is designed to crunch the stuff when the receptacle is full.

The device, which has the appearance of a mailbox, seems simple enough to use: You open the “door,” drop in your trash and close the door. The trash drops down the chute and into a liner collection bag.

A wireless signal technology alerts the town’s garbage hauler, Cali Carting, how full the cans are at any given time to allow for more efficient pickup scheduling by the hauler.

Each compacting cycle takes about 40 seconds, according to the specifications prepared by the manufacturer, BigBelly Solar of Newton, Mass.

The cans even come equipped with a GPS tracking system so that if someone somehow manages to remove them, the town’s Public Works Department will be able to hunt them down, Pincus noted.

Uprooting the receptacles will be hard to accomplish, however, not only because of their weight but also because the town’s DPW has bolted them down to the sidewalk.

“My concern was that kids would be leaning on them,” Pincus said, so he decided to go the extra step and lock them into place.

The cans have been placed in four locations along Kearny Ave., between Bergen and Garfield Aves.: One is in front of the Kearny Public Library, one is directly across the street near northwest corner of Afton St., another is about a block away in front of the Chase Bank and the other is in front of the Dunkin’ Donuts shop.

These spots were selected because they are in a retail area that draws a lot of consumer traffic, Pincus said.

DPW has keys to open the galvanized sheet metal steel trash units and replace liner bags as needed. DPW will make arrangements with Cali for easy access to the units.

Total cost for the units and bags, including bolting, was $3,429 each, or a total of $14,539, including a one-year warranty for any defects in materials and/or workmanship, plus one year free for the wireless notification system transmission to Cali. The unit vendor is Direct Environmental Corp. of the Bronx, N.Y.

Pincus said the cans were acquired with a grant awarded Kearny from the state Clean Communities program.

Direct Environmental Corp. offered the town an option to purchase a double set of units, one for regular trash and a second for recyclables, but Pincus said the cost would have been $6,000 for each of the dual units so, instead, he said the town has bought “green recycling units separately, for about $200 each, which will be placed alongside the BigBelly cans.”

Mayor Alberto Santos said he welcomed the new cans, adding that, “Litter and improper disposal of garbage is a very significant quality of life concern. If these four new cans help in the battle against litter, we will expand the program to other locations.”

In the past, Pincus said, the town has tried to attack the trash issue by hiring extra part-time employees to issue summonses for failing to maintain property “and we’ve tried doing extra trash pickups,” but those efforts have had limited success.

Asked whether the town was looking at beefing up litter enforcement activities as another anti-litter strategy, Pincus said: “We’re currently reviewing potential changes to our litter ordinance.”

Now she can bank on prison

Photo courtesy Newark PD
Valeria Parziale

By Karen Zautyk 

Observer Correspondent 


A 35-year-old Harrison woman who robbed three banks over a three-week span earlier this year is facing up to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty in Federal Court in Newark, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced. The robbery spree had begun in Harrison.

Valeria Parziale entered her plea last Wednesday, Sept. 24, in connection with the Valentine’s Day hold-up of a Wells Fargo Bank in Newark.

Fishman said she also admitted to the two other heists: one at a Valley National Bank in Harrison on Jan. 30; the other, at a Popular Community Bank in Newark on Feb. 20.

Parziale, who reportedly has 15 aliases, was arrested by Newark police in that city on Feb. 24 and has been in custody since then.

Authorities said the first in her trio of crimes occurred at Valley National, 433 Harrison Ave., near S. Fifth St. According to the complaint filed by the FBI, Parziale, wearing a dark, hooded jacket, entered that bank at approximately 1:40 p.m., Jan. 30, and handed a teller a note reading: “Don’t BE Stupid! Put $3,000 in envelope 50/lOO’s I got a gun! Hurry Up.”

Although she claimed to be armed, no weapon was seen. (She, however, was clearly seen on the security video.)

There reportedly were seven employees but only one other customer in the bank at the time.

Parziale fled with approximately $3,000, leaving the note behind. Harrison police said investigation later revealed that she entered a cab several blocks away and was driven to Newark.

On Feb. 14, Parziale — this time wearing a hat, sunglasses and a wig — hit the Newark Wells Fargo Bank, demanding $3,500, again via a note indicating she was armed, the FBI said. The indictment provided the exact amount handed over: $3,320.28.

In the Feb. 20 incident at the Popular Community Bank, the robber once more produced a note demanding $3,500 but setting a 15-second time limit, authorities said. The complaint stated: “The teller told Parziale to wait, but Parziale left the bank before she received any money.”

When Parziale was nabbed in Newark four days later, she reportedly was in possession of a wig, sunglasses and a note that read, “I have a gun Don’t be stupid Give me $3,500 now! Put in envelope! You got 10 seconds! Don’t Risk Yourself.”

Following the Harrison robbery, surveillance photos had been circulated among law enforcement agencies. Kearny detectives obtained an identification on the suspect and turned the information over to the Harrison PD, which was working with Newark and the FBI. Fishman thanked both the Kearny and Harrison PDs “for their excellent work in this case.”

Parziale’s sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 23.

Along with the maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, she faces a $250,000 fine.

When a house is not a home


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


Nobody lives on either side of Carol Pavolic but her absentee neighbors still drive her batty. The Kearny resident, who lives between two abandoned 2-story homes at 365 and 369 Forest St., has had her fill of issues from those buildings in recent years and she unloaded a litany of complaints at a recent meeting of the town’s governing body.

“The grass at 369 is three feet high – it’s a mess,” Pavolic said. “Now there’s no roof, no chimney – the tarp on the roof is ripping out, it’s all over our alleyways. We’ve got to sweep it every day.”

With the house empty for the past seven years, termites have been busy inside, according to Pavolic. “There’s nothing in there but beams. It’s all rotted.”

Meanwhile, she said, “The back door is blowing back and forth. It’s right by my bedroom. I can’t sleep at night.”

On the other side of her property, at 365 Forest, Pavolic said, “There’s a broken drainpipe in the alley. You got possums, everything, back there.” On weekends, she added, “The wise guys come drinking. They burned two trees in front of the house.”

Town Administrator/Construction Code Official Michael Martello said that, “365 Forest is in foreclosure; 369 is not in foreclosure yet.”

“When I call the bank [about the maintenance problems],” Pavolic told the local lawmakers, “they say, ‘Call your town.’ ’’

That comment prompted Mayor Alberto Santos to respond: “More and more we see banks want to spread out their losses so they don’t foreclose right away …. We have ‘zombie’ foreclosures where properties just sit there.” But some, he added, “are slowly coming back.”

Because the taxes are being paid, the town is limited as to what it can do to ensure that the property is well maintained if the owner is laggard, other than to have the work done and place a tax lien on the property.

Santos assured the frustrated resident that the town would follow up on her complaints, along with similar maintenance issues with “other properties on both sides of the street.”

In the meantime, Pavolic said, “I cut the grass, I pay for shoveling snow [on the neighboring properties]. It’s a shame we got to live there.”

Complaints about property maintenance are directed to the town’s Board of Health and The Observer checked with local health officials for a history on the Forest St. properties causing Pavolic distress.

Photos by Michael Martello  365 Forest.

Photos by Michael Martello
365 Forest.


For 369 Forest:

• July 28, 2006: Complaint  is received about holes in a wooden fence. Termites are suspected as the cause.

• Aug. 3, 2006: A new owner  appears on the scene and has overgrown grass cut.

• March 30, 2007: Complaint  is received about “refrigerator, old furniture, debris in yard.” Owner removes refrigerator. A summons is issued but is dismissed on May 24, 2007,  after property is cleared.

• June 25, 2010: Complaint  is received about “high grass, weeds, construction debris and wood” on the property. Summons is issued but no court appearance after mail is returned as undeliverable, resulting in dismissal of summons by court.

• April 28, 2011: Complaint  received about “high grass.” Property placed on list for town to hire landscaper to deal with but, in the meantime, neighbor arranges to cut lawn. Town has backyard shed sealed up.

• May 30, 2014: Notation  that property is “still vacant” and that “locks changed by bank.”

For 365 Forest:

• May 2, 2011: Complaint  received about overgrown weeds and grass. Notation  that “owner moved out one to two months ago.” Town arranges to have grass and weeds cut.

• May 30, 2012: Complaint  received about high weeds. Notation that Bank of America now holds mortgage on property. Complaint addressed.

• May 16, 2013: Complaint  received about dead branches in rear yard. Town hires contractor to remove the tree limbs. May 30, 2014: Complaint  received about overgrown weeds on “abandoned property.” No violation notice issued.

• On Sept. 15, Martello  advised The Observer that “the town is cleaning up the properties and placing liens on them for the cleanup. In addition, the town will be securing the property.”

Blood: ‘Enrollment up, class size stable’


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


As she starts her first full year as acting head of the Kearny public school system in the new Board of Education administrative office center on Midland Ave., Superintendent Patricia Blood is optimistic that students and staff will fare well.

That’s not to say that the district won’t be facing any challenges, she said, noting that since June 30, enrollment has climbed from a bit over 5,800 to the current level of about 6,000 and could go higher – which is what a demographer retained by the district predicted would happen over the next few years.

“We’re reading growth across the district,” Blood said, “and we’ve tried to anticipate that with our new middle school planning and re-drawing school boundary lines to create better-balanced class size in every school building.

“This was feasible because we worked as a team – administrators, teachers, custodial personnel and staff – to get it done.”

It was also accomplished, Blood said, despite having lost 28 teachers from last school year through retirements. At this point, she said, “we have 11 fewer teachers district-wide,” but the system absorbed the loss and still managed to even out class size by reconfiguring the number of class sections and redistributing assignment of teachers.

And Blood said she’ll continue to tweak the system as needed to maintain that continuity. For example, she said, “we may hire a new science teacher for the middle school to reduce class size in that subject.”

As part of the new middle school program for grades 7 and 8 at Lincoln School, Blood said all students will be getting computer classes plus 15 days of swim instruction, parceled out in 64-minute sessions per day.

“We’re also introducing intramural programs in volleyball, indoor soccer and basketball,” she said. “And for our 400 seventh-graders, 60 have signed up for instrumental music as an elective, 75 will be taking vocal instruction and the rest will be in art.”

As a district-wide safety measure, Blood said, “We’ve been putting in key swipes at all elementary school facilities for staff access under a state contract. We want to make sure every door is secured and locked. At the high school, we have security guards who control access.”

On the academic front, Blood said students at various grade levels are being exposed to new approaches to language arts (reading and writing) and math mastery skills.

Currently, for example, 60 teachers of kindergarten, first and second grades and special education aligned with those levels are undergoing 30 hours of training in the Orton & Gillingham reading program which, Blood said, “we felt was best suited to our needs to create a good reading foundation for our students.”

And this month, teachers in grades 6, 7 and 8 will begin training in Larson’s Big Ideas Math program, supplementing the Go Math instructional program in elementary school grades and Algebra in middle school grades.

Students in grades 6 through 8 are being exposed to the Harcourt Collections Anthology in a new language arts program while kids in kindergarten through grade 5 will be honing their language arts skills through the Being A Writer methodology.

“We’ll be piloting a new social studies series involving three different instructional companies for grades 6 through 8,” Blood said. “We’ll be continuing to use the Achieve 3000 computer-based interdisciplinary reading comprehension program for grades 2 through 8 and for high school special education students,” she said. “I’m seeing significant gains in reading performance in the last two years using this program.”

Blood said she’ll be seeking Board of Education approval to secure the use of Interactive Achievement, a system that collects and analyzes student performance data, to provide middle school teachers with another resource to better assess students’ strengths and weaknesses, as measured by the state-mandated Common Core standards.

A fish story


While contemplating topics for this week’s column, I considered our President’s abysmally belated response to the ISIS threat.

I considered the renewed debate over climate change.

I considered our governor’s increasing wanderlust, which appears to be in direct correlation to his decreasing waistline.

I considered the $17.9 trillion national debt.

And then I decided: Enough with the serious stuff. This week’s column will be about goldfish.

Initially, the idea stemmed from a news item about an Australian goldfish named George whose owner paid for brain surgery on the aquatic pet when it was diagnosed with a tumor.

Yes, brain surgery.

The veterinarian who performed the 45-minute operation in Melbourne noted: “George had a quite large tumor . . . and it was beginning to affect his quality of life.”

The BBC reported that the 10-year-old fish was sedated during the surgery and afterwards was given antibiotics and painkillers. The vet said that all went well and the next day George “was up and swimming around.”

At first, I was going to make mock of all this. However, according to the BBC, “Experts say the $200 procedure may have bought George another 20 years of life.”

What? Goldfish can live to be 30? Mine lived an average of 30 days. I’d come home from school to find them belly-up in the bowl, or they’d commit suicide by leaping out of the water when no one was around to rescue them. I began to wonder if Woolworth’s was selling depressed fish.

Now I wonder if I had made them depressed. They always had clean water and sufficient food, but their bowl was small and lacked accoutrements, such as one of those tiny castles. They were probably bored to tears.

Researching goldfish for this column, I have learned many things, including that, in some places, goldfish bowls (the same kind I had) have been banned “on animal cruelty grounds.” Because the fish have both high oxygen needs and a high waste output, “such bowls are no longer considered appropriate housing.”

From Wikipedia, I also learned the following:

• Goldfish “have a memory- span of at least three months and can distinguish different shapes, colors and sounds.”

• Goldfish are gregarious and can respond to their reflection in a mirror. • Their behavior can be conditioned by their owners.

• They can distinguish between individual humans. When their owners approach, some may “react favorably (swimming to the front of the glass, swimming rapidly around the tank, or going to the surface, mouthing for food).” When strangers approach, they may hide.

• Goldfish that have “constant visual contact with humans stop considering them to be a threat. After a time, it becomes possible to hand-feed a goldfish without it shying away.”

• By using positive reinforcement, goldfish can be trained to perform tricks.

(Tricks? What tricks? Playing dead? Uh-oh.)


• “Very rarely does a goldfish harm another goldfish.” (Which makes them superior to some humans, especially certain NFL players.)

I found no reference to 30-year lives. However, Wikipedia says “the lifespan of goldfish in captivity can extend beyond 10 years.”

Which is nine years and 11 months longer than mine lived.

I realize now that they really were depressed. I treated my goldfish as a form of aquatic decor, and I could have been teaching them tricks. They were starved for attention, not food. And they were confined in a bowl. They had no quality of life. I should write a song: “My Goldfish Has the Blues.” I cod call it sole music. For either a bass or an Irish tuna.

(Stop groaning. At least I didn’t say I wrote this just for the halibut.)

– Karen Zautyk 

He preyed on dementia victim



A routine traffic stop by Bloomfield police earlier this year played a role in the investigation of, and guilty plea by, an East Orange man who stole $50,000 from a 90-year-old, dementia-stricken friend, authorities reported.

On Friday, in Essex County Superior Court, defendant Gilbert Vaughn, 64, pleaded guilty to second-degree insurance fraud, third-degree unlawful theft by taking and fourth-degree identity theft.

Vaughn and his victim reportedly were residents of the same senior citizens housing facility.

According to New Jersey acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman and Ronald Chillemi, prosecutor for the Office of Insurance Fraud, Vaughn had coerced the victim into withdrawing the money from an annuity account when the state Office of the Public Guardian for the Elderly began protecting the man’s finances.

In July 2013, the 90-year-old was placed into state guardianship. In August 2013, the $50,000 was cashed out before the company holding his annuity froze the account.

On June 3 of this year, Bloomfield Police Officer Anthony Piccinno and Sgt. Thomas Fano pulled Vaughn over on Bloomfield Ave. for a motor vehicle violation. Authorities said he was operating the victim’s Toyota and, when asked for identity, produced victim’s driver’s license. A fraud investigation followed.

“Vaughn was well-aware of the victim’s diminished capacity and had followed the public guardian’s legal proceedings closely,” said Chillemi, adding, “His crimes are disturbing, especially given that he exploited a susceptible man with dementia.”

Hoffman said, “Some in New Jersey’s elderly population are able to rely on their family or friends to assist them with their financial affairs. The victim in this case, sadly, was not that fortunate.” The AG called Vaughn “a criminal who viewed the victim as easy prey.”

Sentencing is set for Nov. 14. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend a five-year term in state prison.

– Karen Zautyk 

KPD drug busts: It’s all relative

Two Harrison men were arrested separately on drug charges last week, one while he was driving into the town, one at his home. Police said the accused are brothers.

At 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 24, Kearny Vice Squad officers spotted a Toyota Camry traveling from Kearny into Harrison on Harrison Ave. and were aware that the driver had a suspended license and a contempt-ofcourt warrant from North Arlington, KPD Chief John Dowie said.

After Dino Bermudez, 30, was taken into custody, a search incident to arrest revealed he was in possession of 30 Oxycontin tablets, police reported. He was charged with possession of a CDS, possession with intent to distribute, possession of a CDS in a motor vehicle and in/near a school zone.

Several hours later, Vice cops, armed with a search warrant, visited the Bermudez residence and reported recovering 50 glassine bags of heroin, stamped “Sin City”; 50 folds of heroin, stamped “Superman”; $149 in currency and several cell phones.

Marcos Bermudez, 31, was charged with possession and distribution of the drug, distribution in a school zone and possession of drug paraphernalia.


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

 Sept. 19 

At 9 a.m., School Resource Officer Steven Montanino, assigned to Kearny High School, advised headquarters he had arrested a 15-year-old student who was involved in a physical altercation with school security officers. When Montanino interceded, police said, the youth continued to be aggressive and had to be forcibly handcuffed. He was charged with aggravated assault, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and was later released to the custody of his father.

Sept. 20 

At 9 p.m., Officer John Fabula responded to Walmart on a report of a man assaulting his girlfriend in the parking lot. Police said the officer stopped the suspect’s SUV as it was leaving the property and found that the driver, Luis Diaz, 24, of Elizabeth, had a Newark warrant for possession of drug paraphernalia.

The woman, whom Diaz had left behind in the lot, was advised of her rights but reportedly would not press charges, and since she had no visible injuries, Diaz could not be arrested for domestic violence. He was arrested on the warrant.

Sept. 22 

Shortly after midnight, Officers Chris Medina and Ben Wuelfing went to Walmart when store security reported that two men were using a knife to cut open packages. The officers located the suspects near the jewelry department and took into custody Lawrence Roland, 22, and Michael Jones, 25, both of Newark, They were charged with shoplifting, conspiracy, possession of a weapon and possession of burglar tools.


Officers Chris Levchak and Daniel Esteves, patrolling on the Belleville Pike at 7:45 p.m., saw an eastbound car swerving in the roadway, nearly hitting another vehicle and a concrete divider, police said. After FSTs and an Alcotest, driver Carlos Escaleira, 52, of Garfield was charged with DWI and careless driving.

Sept. 23 

Chapter 1: At 2 p.m., after concerned citizens reported an individual entering backyards and driveways on the 200 block of Ivy St., units converged on the area. Near Hickory St. and Oakwood Ave., Chief Dowie spotted and detained the suspect, a 16-year-old Kearny male who reportedly became confrontational under questioning. When backup officers Det. Lt. Anthony Gouveia, Det. Marc McCaffrey and P.O. Philip Finch arrived, McCaffrey recognized the youth from a prior encounter, police said. One of the Ivy St. residents identified the suspect, who was charged with trespassing and obstruction of justice — for allegedly failing to provide ID information. The teen was released to his father’s custody.

Sept. 24

Chapter 2: Officers John Travelino and Jordenson Jean were assigned to monitor dismissal at Kearny High School after “threats of unrest” were made following the earlier ejection of a student from the building. At 2 p.m., they observed the same 16-yearold who had been taken into custody the previous day. (He was not the student who had been ejected.) As they approached the youth, he reportedly ran and appeared to be clutching something in his pocket.

Apprehended, he was found to be in possession of a “large folding knife,” police said. He was charged with obstruction and with unlawful possession of a weapon.

And he was again released to the custody of his father.

– Karen Zautyk 

Learn ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ Thursday nights on ABC


By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent 

If you’ve been a fan of “Grey’s Anatomy” at any point during its now 10-season run, chances are you migrated over to “Scandal.” If you then became a fan of “Scandal,” combined with “Grey’s Anatomy,” chances are you’re going to migrate also to Shonda Rhimes’ new ABC Thursday-night drama, “How to Get Away With Murder.”

And in combination, ABC has, perhaps, TV’s biggest powerhouse of three-consecutive shows airing from 8 to 11 p.m. every Thursday night. The suits at ABC are so certain “How to” (we’ll shorten it to “How to” since the name is otherwise annoying to type over and over) will be successful, they’ve already adopted the slogan “Thank God It’s Thursday” for “Grey’s,” “Scandal” and “How to.”

And there’s no question, “How to” got off to a splendid beginning.

It’s the story of a law professor, who also has a private practice, whose philosophy on teaching the law requires law students to learn how to get their clients off — including when they are, frankly, guilty of committing murder.

Perhaps a bit unethically, in the very first episode, she charges her students to come up with a defense for a case she’s currently working on. She and two of her colleagues then chose the four law students they believe came up with the best defenses.

The caveat? All four of the best students then get hired to work for her law firm, in what appears to be a research capacity.

But there are numerous twists along the way from the get-go.

In one scene, after coming up with a possible defense scenario, one of the students hops out of his own bed, leaves his apartment and cycles over to the professor’s office. Thing is, the student walks into the office and finds the married professor (who is a woman, by the way), having sex with a man we later learn is a cop involved in her current case.

There are also numerous flash-forwards to the four law students doing their best to hide the body of a dead man.

It appears to the be the body of the professor’s husband.

But this leaves open the door to many possibilities.

Did the professor kill her own husband and then force the kids to get rid of the body to help her get away with murder?

Is it all a farce?

Is one or more of the law students involved in killing the prof ’s husband? It’s all part of the brilliance that is the writing of Rhimes. It’s evident in the new show. It’s clear in “Scandal.” And for a decade, we’ve been treated to more plane crashes, love affairs, loused-up medical procedures and more on “Grey’s Anatomy.”

So here’s the bottom line.

If you’re a fan of “Grey’s Anatomy” or “Scandal” — and let’s face it, you should be a fan of one or both of them — you’re naturally going to like the progression from “Grey’s” at 8 p.m., to “Scandal” at 9 p.m., and now to “How to” at 10 p.m. on ABC.

With Rhimes, nothing ever seems to be off limits. Nothing is too taboo. And if you really get into this troika of shows on Thursday nights, chances are, too, that nothing will be off limits with “How to Get Away With Murder.”

And perhaps when all is said and done, that’s exactly what you learn how to do.

Contact Kevin Canessa Jr. at kevincanessa@gmail.com with ideas for entertainment stories, including review of shows, bands, books, movies and the like. We’re especially looking for local talents to showcase. 

News from the Nutley police blotter

During the past week, Nutley PD responded to six suspicious incidents, eight disputes, 14 motor vehicle accidents and 40 medical calls, in addition to the following logged incidents:

Sept. 20 

Roger Maldonado-Melgar, 20, of Newark, was charged with eluding and resisting arrest after police said he refused orders to pull over while reportedly reaching a speed of 74 mph traveling south on Rt. 21. Police said he was finally stopped in Newark. He was also ticketed for alleged violations of DUI, speeding, unlicensed, careless driving and failure to keep right on highway with marked lanes. He was released pending a court date.


Two separate incidents of identity theft were reported. In the first, someone opened an AT&T Wireless account in the victim’s name and ordered two iPhones and service, for which the victim was billed $229. The defrauder used the victim’s driver’s license and Social Security number to open the account. Police said the suspect who made the transaction was described as a light-skinned white or Hispanic male, with close-cropped brown hair, between 5-feeteight and 5-feet-10, in his early to late 40s.

In the second incident, the victim was fraudulently billed by Credit Collection Services, Newton, Mass., for a past due amount of $3,837 owed to Verizon. The victim had no outstanding Verizon balance and was told that Verizon retains no collection agencies, police said.


Michael Montero, 19, of Belleville, was arrested while parked in Flora Louden Park off Hancox Ave. after police said he was found to have a green leafy substance consistent with marijuana, an “Entourage” cigar which is commonly used to smoke marijuana, a green water bong and a bag of burnt “roaches.” He was charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and issued motor vehicle summonses for possession of CDS in a motor vehicle and uninsured vehicle. He was released pending a court appearance.

Sept. 21 

Someone entered a vehicle parked on Warren St. Police said the ignition had been broken. It was unclear whether this was a forced entry.


Two Belleville men were apprehended at 2 a.m. at Walnut St. and Nutley Ave. after police learned they had outstanding warrants. Police said Joshua Garcia, 22, had two active warrants from Belleville and Christopher Gallo, 21, had an active warrant from Paramus. Garcia was turned over to Belleville PD after declining to post bail while Gallo was released after he posted bail.


In an apparent fraud incident, the victim made a purchase at an unidentified store via a card swipe on a phone and, two days later, learned that several unauthorized transactions totaling more than $400 had been made to their card. Sept. 23  Someone smashed the rear window of a van parked on Plymouth Road, police said.


Police responded to Holy Family Church on Brookline Ave. on a criminal mischief report. The parish’s Good Shepherd Academy school custodian told police that a man he described as white, with blond-brown hair and no shirt, was roller blading and hitting flowers with a stick. Police said several flowers had been uprooted. A check of the area was negative, police said. A day later, a school official notified police that someone had damaged seven plants and defaced a plaque on the north side of the older church near the sidewalk, causing $100 in damages.


Police made a motor vehicle stop on Washington Ave. after discovering that the driver had active warrants from Clifton, Montclair and Belleville. Joseph Geraldo, 25, of Nutley, was also charged with possession of CDS, possession with intent to distribute and possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school (Washington) after police said a search of Geraldo revealed a pill bottle containing Xanax and a folded dollar bill holding seven pills identified as oxycodone. Geraldo was taken to Essex County Jail after failing to post bail set at $25,000 with a 10% cash option.

Sept. 24 

A Centre St. store owner called police to report that a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt had swiped the pile of newspapers delivered to the front of the store.

Sept. 25 

Police responded to a 9-1-1 call from a Myrtle Ave. residence on a report of a prowler. The resident told police that while watching TV, they heard a car door close outside their window and saw a young white female with long dark-colored hair, wearing a dark-colored dress with a wave pattern checking out the vehicles parked in their driveway. After realizing that she was being watched, the female slipped into the passenger seat of a dark-colored SUV parked with its lights off which then drove away onto Park Ave.


Someone stole a silver mountain bike valued at $60 from the side of a residence on Prospect St., the owner told police.


Two cases of identity fraud were reported. In the first, someone opened a Verizon Wireless account using the victim’s name and Social Security number. In the second incident, someone charged an item to the victim’s credit card via Lord & Taylor Online but subsequently canceled the order, then made a subsequent attempt to charge an item at a Pennsylvania store. The victim closed their account and received a new card, police said.

Sept. 26 

Police received a report of a case of identity theft involving a victim who applied for unemployment insurance but was declined on the basis of the unemployment office having a record of the victim currently working in Virginia. The office advised the victim that someone was working under their social security number but wasn’t sure what name they were using.

– Ron Leir 

In this economy, local businesses need advertising to survive


By Ryan Sloan 

Observer Correspondent 


Some economic experts say we’re well on the road to recovering from the Great Recession of a few years ago. Others say we’re nowhere near recovered.

Regardless, one thing has stood the test of time for more than 125 years — through the Great Depression, numerous recessions and all sorts of other economic issues — and that is The Observer newspaper as a place where local business owners can showcase themselves to attract maximum exposure and the clientele needed for survival.

The Observer newspaper boasts a robust print circulation of more than 30,000 newspapers a week with around 100,000 estimated readers in West Hudson, South Bergen and part of Essex County.

But the newspaper’s reach goes well beyond the tri-county area with our e-Edition, which is an exact replica of the print edition — and with www.TheObserver.com.

The website is read, each week, on average, by some 30,000 people not just locally, but in Jersey City, Newark, New York City, many cities in Florida (where locals have gone to retire) other places in North America — and across the globe, with heavy readership in England, Scotland, Ireland, Portugal, Brazil and other countries in Europe and South America.

And for our advertisers, the e-Edition is an added bonus. Each week, an estimated 12,000 people across the country and globe read the e-Edition. And what’s more, there is no additional charge for ads bring run in the e-Edition.

Businesses that advertise with The Observer — especially new businesses — are more likely to succeed in the long run, according to Bob Pezzolla, who has been The Observer’s general manager since 2002. In his experience, he says ones that commit succeed — and ones that don’t are much less likely to succeed.

To achieve that success, Pezzolla estimates that new business must budget at least 10% of start-up capital for advertising.

“Too many times over the years, I’ve seen so many great people start a business that folds after six months,” Pezzolla said. “What happens is they have great intentions, have a few customers, but don’t understand that, without getting the word out that they’re there, they’re likely not going to succeed. So I’d definitely say 10% of the kick-off capital has to be for advertising.”

Meanwhile, business can opt to advertise on www.TheObserver. com alone. Presently, attorney Anthony Riposta, Better Homes and Gardens | Coccia Realty, Mid-Realty, Brady, Brady & Reilly and the Kearny Family Health Center all have prominent ads on The Observer’s website.

Each ad includes a direct link to each business’ website.

“While many other publications have refused to embrace the online versions of newspapers, we’ve embraced it,” Pezzolla said. “And considering how many people visit our site each week, our advertisers are able to showcase their businesses not just locally, but across the country and the globe. There aren’t many weekly newspapers that can boast that as we can.”

Lastly, businesses that have remained with The Observer for a long period of time are featured in this space regularly — The Business Review section. It’s here that a member of the newspaper’s staff writes a complete, one-page review on the advertisers. Additionally, a banner ad is placed along with the editorial. It’s one of many ways The Observer gives back to those who have been loyal.

And of course, if you’re a new business owner — or have never advertised before — The Observer’s professional art staff will create and design an ad for you, completely as you want it to appear.

So what are you waiting for? Contact a member of the sales staff today by calling 201-991-1600, by sending an email to advertising@theobserver. com or by stopping by our office at 39 Seeley Ave., Kearny, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. As The Observer continues to grow, let us help your business grow with us.

Make the call today!