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Scouts’ mission continues


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


On March 20, 1960, the Girl Scout House in Kearny opened its doors, thereby kicking off a new era for a then-growing scouting movement among girls in West Hudson.

Today, with membership slacking off a bit locally and nationwide, the Kearny-based girl scouts want to send out a message to the communities of Kearny, Harrison and East Newark that the scouting mission is still operating.

But the home base at 635 Kearny Ave. could use a shot of adrenalin to keep it going so, to that end, the West Hudson Girl Scout Council – revamped in 1963 as the WeHudCo Trust to maintain the building – will hold a “rededication” of the Kearny House and kick off a fundraising drive on Saturday, Oct. 11, from 10 a.m. to noon. Mayor Alberto Santos will preside at a ceremonial ribbon- cutting slated for 11 a.m.

Girls from kindergarten to grade 12 and their parents are invited to attend the open house. There will be crafts for kids and everyone is welcome to pitch in with preparing decorations for the Girl Scouts float for the town’s upcoming Halloween Parade.

As a follow-up activity, the scouts have scheduled a Home Party Vendor Day for Saturday, Nov. 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Kearny House with proceeds of all sales going to the House fundraising drive.

Some background on the evolution of the Kearny House: Archibald Salmond is credited with the introduction of Girl Scouts to Kearny in 1918. The West Hudson Girl Scout Council was incorporated in 1930 to represent Kearny, Harrison, East Newark and North Arlington. Troops met in a rented storefront on Midland Ave. opposite the firehouse.

In Sept. 1955, New Jersey Gov. Robert Meyner signed a bill that allowed municipalities to give or lease property to organizations that previously excluded Boy and Girl Scouts. “Kearny was the first town to take advantage of it,” noted WeHudCo Trust member Teddie Jablonski, who began her foray into scouting as a Brownie in 1950.

In March 1956, Kearny leased the then-vacant lot at 635 Kearny Ave., off Columbia Ave., to the West Hudson Girl Scout Council for 99 years at $1 a year and the Council immediately began a fundraising effort to construct a headquarters. A total of $120,000 – including more than $20,000 from the DuPont Co.’s Arlington Employees Welfare Fund – was collected, of which $80,000 was used to complete the building, with the balance to be used for office staff and future maintenance.

The cornerstone was laid in 1960 and the first troop meeting was held at the House in 1961. Today, it’s is one of the few facilities wholly owned by a Girl Scout unit in the state. Most meet in schools or houses of worship. The Kearny House is open to – and has hosted — girl scout troops from as far as Canada.

The Trust, which is now known as WeHudCo, Inc., has recently been granted 501 (c)(3) tax exempt status. With its contingency fund pretty well depleted, it is gearing up to raise money “to ensure the future of our building, our Kearny Scout House, and the future of the Girl Scout program,” said Jablonski.

For the present, she said, that means repairs to the roof, downspouts, new gutters, flushing out of the main drain, waterproofing the basement, fixing the blacktop in back, updating the kitchen and new drapes.

Today, the West Hudson unit – which claimed nearly 400 members in the late 1990s – has fallen off to 70 scouts and 17 adult volunteer leaders doing cookie sales, learning cooking, sewing and knitting skills, as well as community service projects like food and clothing drives for post-Sandy victims, holiday toy drives for kids in the hospital and darning little wool hats for infants.

And scout leaders are finding new ways to connect with girls. Margy Hill, with 40 years in scouting in Belleville and Kearny, recently moved to Pennsylvania but is still leading a troop of older girls through weekly “video meets” via Google Plus and monthly in-person meets in Kearny.

“Scouting is something I’m very passionate about,” Hill said. “It’s a big priority for me. I grew up in a scouting family and I love seeing what the girls get out of it,” particularly in developing life and leadership skills.

Hill recalled one ex-scout calling her “to thank me for making her participate in selling cookies” because she found later that the experience of going out and dealing with consumers stood her in good stead “when she got her first job in retail sales.”

“That, to me, was high praise,” said Hill.

All creatures great and small


By Karen Zautyk

Observer Correspondent 


If you were out and about Saturday morning, you know that the rains were torrential — biblical, one might say. But this did not deter pet owners from gathering at the Archdiocesan Youth Center (formerly Boystown) for the annual Blessing of the Animals. (We expected to see some ducks, since it was nice weather for them, but none attended.)

Various events in Observer towns were postponed because of the downpour, but we knew this particular one would go on on rain or shine.

A large canopy was erected on the Belgrove Drive property to protect the pets and people who huddled there.

And despite the deluge, this was a place of warmth and brightness, for it is a joy to be among humans who care so much for their non-human companions.

As he does each year, Msgr. John Gilchrist presided at the ceremony, which took place near the statue of St. Francis of Assisi, whose feast day is Oct. 4.

Many churches, both Catholic and Protestant, hold similar programs on or around that date.

To Catholics, St. Francis has for centuries been known as the patron saint of animals, and in 1979, he got an additional assignment when Pope John Paul II declared him patron saint of ecology/ the environment. (By the way, one of the pets at the blessing was a cat called John Paul. “Yes, he’s named for the Pope,” his human companion noted.)



Photos by Karen Zautyk Top Nozi Chinosi and human Mai (same last name), and Gidget, with human Roseanne Evaristo.

Photos by Karen Zautyk
Top Nozi Chinosi and human Mai (same last name), and Gidget, with human Roseanne Evaristo.

The annual blessing is a reminder not only of St. Francis’ love for God’s creatures, but also that they are, indeed, God’s creatures and that they have been placed in mankind’s care. It is our duty to be their stewards, be they the pets who share our homes or the wild beasts and birds and fish, et al, who share our world.

As the communal prayer preceding the actual blessing noted, God has given humankind rule over His works, including: “All sheep and oxen, yes, and animals of the field, the birds of the air, the fishes of the sea, and whatever swims the paths of the seas.”

The prayer of blessing notes that God “created the world to serve humanity’s needs” and asks: “Give us the grace to see all animals as gifts from You and to treat them with respect for they are Your creation.”

And then, all the little gifts who were on Belgrove Drive were brought forward by their owners to be sprinkled with holy water. (We have attended several of these programs in the past, and it has always amazed us that even the barkiest dogs went quiet when the ceremony began.)

Afterwards, goody bags of pet food and treats were distributed to the attendees, who then headed home through all the rain.

As we were leaving, we glanced toward the Passaic River at the foot of the hill. We can’t be sure, but we think we saw an ark down there.

Perkins calls it a day


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


Seven years after it opened its doors, a popular Lyndhurst eatery sadly bade farewell to its many loyal customers this past Sunday.

Perkins Family Restaurant & Bakery, in the Valley Brook Ave. mall across from Township Hall, closed after being unable to come to terms on a new lease with the landlord, Lyndhurst Residential Community 2 LLC of Edison, said owner Patti Moretta.

Moretta said she has no plans to reopen at another location.

“I’m not moving anywhere else – I’m done,” she said.

Patrons who want a Perkins dining experience will have to venture out to Woodbridge, the closest to Lyndhurst.

Her departure will mark the second retailer in the mall to fold. A Mandee shop closed about a year and a half ago and the space remains empty today.

The loss of Perkins will leave 24 employees out of jobs including the restaurant’s acting GM James Mojonick of Kearny who has worked there the past two and a half years.

“I’ll miss the staff and Patti,” Mojonick said. “It’s like a family here. Very few times do you get to work at a place, especially in a cutthroat world of business, and find that the people you’re working with are more like a family, where we can be somewhat laid back but still get the job done.”

Longtime customers like Eileen and Bill Gallagher of North Arlington readily agreed. “It’s been one of our favorite spots for the past six years,” said Eileen. “We like the people, it’s clean, comfortable and the food is good.”

Husband Bill added: “The people who work here do a wonderful job, they’re respectful and we get our food on time. It’s a shame they’re closing. We come here at least once a week, mostly for the turkey dinner.”

It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride for Moretta.

When the Totowa resident acquired the Perkins franchise and decided to set up shop in Lyndhurst, “this place was just a cement slab when I came here.” It cost her $1.5 million to build the restaurant, she said.

Once she got going, though, she never stopped. “Each year, we only closed on Christmas,” she said. “And we were the only place open the day after the hurricane, Sandy, hit, in 2012. I brought in a bunch of power surges so our staff and customers could charge their phones.”

Moretta, who grew up in Glen Ridge, has always been food-conscious. After graduating from Glen Ridge High School, she went to Syracuse University where she got her degree in therapeutic nutrition.

She applied her academic knowledge during an eightyear stint as registered dietician at Clara Maass Medical Center and 11 years as public health nutrition counselor and Meals on Wheels coordinator in Passaic.

“I’ve actually been working since I was 15,” she said.

Her dad was a part-owner of a Holiday Inn complex in Totowa and she tinkered with the idea of bringing a Perkins there but, instead, picked Lyndhurst for its easy access to Rt. 3 and other highway transit links.

Eventually, she succeeded in building a customer base that extended to places like Secaucus, Fort Lee, West Milford and even New York.

Mother’s and Father’s Day turned out to be big draws. “Some of my former employees would come in and work for free,” Moretta recalled, “just because they wanted to.” And, every Christmas Day, she’d throw a holiday party for her employees.

Over the years, the Lyndhurst Perkins has sought to give back to the community, Moretta said.

“We’ve donated muffins, pies and cookies to veterans, we allowed them to put their coin box on the front counter. I’ve gotten awards from the local VFW for our loyalty to veterans.

“We sponsored Lyndhurst High School football team towels and, for the past three or four years, we’ve worked with the high school’s developmentally disabled program here at the restaurant.

“Anybody who knocked on my door got a donation, whether it was a Tricky Tray or whatever,” she said.

Still, it hasn’t always been a piece of cake. “In some ways, it’s been an uphill battle since we opened in October 2007,” she said.“There was Sandy, of course, and there were 29 days where my customers had nowhere to park because the mall spaces were taken up by events being held by the township or by police vehicles. Then, on top of that, we had the construction [of barrier walls] on Rt. 3 where people couldn’t use the Lyndhurst exit.”

And there were the annual rent increases assessed by the property owner.

But despite her travails, Moretta says the struggle was worth it and, as proof of the pudding, she showed The Observer a book of tributes logged in by thankful customers – a souvenir of her days in Lyndhurst she’ll always treasure.

3rd mayoral candidate surfaces


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


When North Arlington residents go to the polls Nov. 4, they can choose one of three candidates for mayor but they’ll find only two on the ballot.

Mayor Peter Massa is the Democratic nominee seeking re-election for a third consecutive term and Councilman Joseph Bianchi is opposing him as the GOP representative.

But also vying for the borough’s top elective office is newcomer Anthony Baez, a registered Republican who is running as a write-in candidate under the slogan, “A Brighter Future for North Arlington.”

Baez, 44, a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier assigned to Kearny who has lived in North Arlington for the past five years, said he missed the deadline for filing nominating petitions to get his name on the election ballot so he decided to promote himself as a write-in.

“I figured, ‘Why not take the shot?’ ” he said.

Since he was away on vacation during the June primary balloting, Baez didn’t get to square off against Bianchi for the party’s nomination.

As a sort of dry run, he got a set of petitions and began asking people for their signatures “and I got 200 to sign and I thought that was a pretty good response,” Baez said. Since then, he said he’s been “going door to door” and using social media to introduce himself and hand out fliers to residents.

“I’m running because I don’t like what’s going on here,” Baez said. “When people go to mayor/council meetings, they don’t get responses from the people representing them.”

Asked for examples of nonresponsiveness, Baez – who served in the U.S. military from 1989 to 2001 in Germany and Texas – said, “It’s inexcusable that our 9/11 memorial is still sitting in the public works garage. That irks me. 9/11 was a war with terrorists so the memorial needs to be on a veterans’ plateau, in front of our VFW/American Legion hall on River Road.”

Around North Arlington, Baez said, “There’s a feeling that the town has been forgotten. There’s no July 4 fireworks. No pride in our community.”

If he’s voted in as mayor, Baez said he’d give away his salary as charitable donations to various community organizations. “I’d give $1,000 to each organization, like the Knights of Columbus, the Elks, the Woman’s Club, the veterans’ groups, plus the Fire Department, Police Department and the Board of Education.

“Money isn’t the importance of being mayor – it’s being the voice of the people,” he said.

Local government’s inability to agree on a municipal budget is a disgrace, Baez said. “We all have to come up with a budget to run our home.”

To get more revenues, North Arlington should “promote the use of the baler” by other communities and should do more to attract “franchises” and other tenants for the industrial park in the meadows behind Saw Mill Creek, he said.

Baez grew up in Newark where he attended St. Lucy’s Grammar School and Essex County Vocational High School. He took college classes while stationed in Germany with the military. After his Army service, he was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant.

He has served with the USPS for 12 years and has been a shop steward with the National Association of Letter Carriers’ Branch 38 for Kearny and North Arlington.

In North Arlington, he is service officer for the American Legion Alexander Stover Post 37 and senior vice commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Carlos Sass Post 4697. During his time with the veterans’ groups, Baez has chaired the local Boys’ State, Patriots Pen and Voice of Democracy programs, helped organize the Memorial Day Parade, family food drive, dinner program for veterans at the V.A. Hospital in East Orange and the burning of worn U.S. flags and supported the campaign to rename the Passaic River bridge for the late Marine Lance Cpl. Osmany Montes deOca. This year, he was nominated by the Legion for the Veteran of the Year award.

He is also a member of the Liquid Church in Nutley.

Baez, who lives on Roosevelt St., has two daughters, Amanda, 17, and Monica, 16.

Baubles, bangles & bail


By Karen Zautyk 

Observer Correspondent 


“It was,” said Kearny Police Chief John Dowie, “like following a trail of breadcrumbs.”

Except that these crumbs glittered in the morning sun and were worth a good amount of bread, being assorted pieces of jewelry stolen from a Windsor St. home. Cops recovered both the bling and the alleged burglar, identified as 41-yearold John Enright of Kearny.

Dowie said that at about 9 a.m. Monday, Sept. 29, headquarters received a call from a concerned citizen about a possible burglary in progress at a residence on the 200 block of Windsor.

Dispatched to the address, Officer T.J. Hernandez took up a position at the front of the home, while Sgt. Paul Bershefski went to the rear of property, where, police said, he encountered Enright “leaving via the deck.”

The suspect reentered the home, and the sergeant shouted a warning to Hernandez that a man was fleeing out the front door. Sure enough, he exited there, clutching a bundle — a gray T-shirt that appeared to be full of purloined items, police said.

Ignoring Hernandez’ orders to stop, he took off on foot, pursued by the officer and with the T-shirt reportedly “emitting jewelry as he fled.” She chased him south on Windsor and then east on Liberty St., where he entered an apartment building near Maple St.

Hernandez continued to follow and saw him enter a third-floor apartment.

Other KPD units responded, and Enright was persuaded to open the door and surrender, police said. Inside, they said, were the proceeds of the burglary, still wrapped in the T-shirt.

Hernandez retraced the route of the pursuit, following and retrieving the “breadcrumbs,” those pieces of jewelry that had been scattered along the way.

All the stolen items were inventoried at headquarters, and they included:

• 3 necklaces

• 9 bracelets

• 10 rings

• 10 watches

• 39 pairs of earrings

• 14 single earrings

• 4 charms

• 1 silver jewelry tray

• 1 butter knife

And: 1 gray T-shirt

Police said the homeowner confirmed that the property was hers and that it had all been in her residence when she left that morning.

Enright was charged with burglary, theft, possession of stolen property, and resisting arrest.

He was remanded to the Hudson County Jail on $40,000 bail.

KPD blotter: Amend to that

A man with an apparent affection for the U.S. Constitution, but not perhaps for DWI laws, was arrested last week after he nearly hit a patrol car in front of KPD headquarters, police reported.

Police said Officer Chris Levchek was stopped at the light at Laurel Ave. and Elm St. at 10 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 30, when a 2002 Buick made a wide turn at the intersection, nearly hitting the squad car, then continuing south on Elm.

Levchek gave chase and stopped it at Columbia Ave.

When asked for his driving credentials, the motorist, Edward Sallustro, 64, of North Arlington, reportedly handed Levchek several business cards and a health insurance card.

After failing field sobriety tests, police said, he was arrested and taken to HQ , where he refused to take an Alcotest, citing the Fifth [protection against self-incrimination], 14th [the right to due process] and 15th [The right to vote “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude”] Amendments.

(Editor’s note: The right to vote? For an Alcotest?)

Nevertheless, Sallustro was charged with DWI, DWI within 1,000 feet of a school, careless driving and refusal to take the Alcotest.

• • •

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

Sept. 26 

Det. Sgt. Robert Maguire interviewed a Pine St. resident who reported that his garage had been broken into sometime within the previous four days. Missing were several thousand dollars’ worth of tools, including two jackhammers, an air compressor, various power saws, a hammer drill and a Honda generator. The case is under investigation, and police are also monitoring pawnshops, eBay and other internet sites, etc., via which the equipment might be sold.

Sept. 27 

At 12:45 a.m., HQ received a report of an erratic driver on Kearny Ave., approaching Midland Ave. Officer Tim Castle checked the license plate number provided and learned it was registered to a white Kia, which he soon spotted at Oakwood Ave., weaving in traffic and with its headlights off.

When Castle stopped the vehicle, he detected an odor of alcohol, police said.

Driver Johana Alvarez, 32, of East Rutherford, was administered FSTs and an Alcotest and was charged with DWI and careless driving.

Sept. 29 

At 6:30 a.m., Officer Steven Hroncich responded to Walmart after store management reported that a cashier they had been monitoring via video had pocketed more than $4,000 in proceeds during the month of September. On the 29th, she had stolen an additional $400, which was found in her possession, police said. Charged with theft was Gerecia Clark, 21, of Hillside.

Sept. 30 

Officer Levchek was on patrol at Passaic and Johnston Aves. at 8 p.m. when his license-plate reader advised him that a passing vehicle had a suspended registration. After stopping the 2002 Honda, he also learned that the plates belonged on a Nissan. Elmer Martinez, 20, of Elizabeth, was charged with driving while suspended, being an unlicensed driver, using fictitious plates and operating an uninsured vehicle. The car was impounded.

• • •

At 9 p.m., Vice Squad officers, having knowledge of an earlier drug transaction, stopped Michael Franqui, 37, of Kearny, at Chestnut and Dukes Sts. and confiscated two plastic bags of suspected cocaine. He was charged with possession of the drug and of drug paraphernalia.

Oct. 1 

At 5 p.m., Sgt. Peter Gleason and Officers Jay Ward and Malinda Esposito responded to Windsor St. near Bergen Ave. on a report of a man threatening bodily harm to a 45-year-old Kearny woman. Upon the cops’ arrival, the suspect fled on foot but was chased down and caught at Afton St. William Murray, 52, of Kearny, was arrested for making terroristic threats and was remanded to the Hudson County Jail on $10,000 bail.

– Karen Zautyk 

Am I worried? Not if I don’t turn on the news …


Confronted with the widespread chaos and hardship around the globe, every time I pick up a newspaper or listen to the news on various media, I invariably want to bury myself in a good book or watch an old movie or sports event as a welcome distraction.

Or take a retrospective look back into a seemingly simpler time in my youth: remembering my paternal grandfather – a self-employed tailor who had somehow found the courage to uplift himself and his family from a village in Russia at the turn of the last century – and start life over again in the U.S.

At home, after a full day at his tailor’s bench, he liked to kick back by sipping a glass of tea flavored with a white sugar cube and playing checkers with his grandson. I don’t remember every seeing him excited or flustered about anything.

But in today’s fast-paced world, there seems to be a crisis every moment: the spread of Ebola, global warming, drought in California, the continued deforestation of the Amazon, the slaughter and/ or displacement of civilians in Syria, Somalia, Gaza, drone attacks conducted by the U.S.

The tabloids decry the beheadings of journalists and aid workers by the ISIS extremists and Obama calls on the U.S. and its allies to send troops as “advisers” to the Iraqi military.

It wasn’t that long ago that the U.S. was invading Iraq and decrying the dictatorship of Syria’s Assad regime and now the tables have turned.

Witness the American support of the new post of “chief executive” in Iraq – a position not included in the country’s constitution but inserted as a way for the U.S. to prop up a puppet government there.

And our presence in Afghanistan – on the heels of Russia – only helped feed the insurgents’ cause to kick out foreign invaders, in turn, kindling an even more violent reaction by the extremist Islamic State.

Obama says it’s up to America – with the most powerful fighting force in the world – to “lead” but to not be the world’s policeman every time. That poses an interesting dilemma: how do you “lead” without managing to impose your political agenda or military might?

I reasoned with a politically aware friend that perhaps we – with our allies, whoever they turn out to be – have a moral obligation to send boots on the ground into the Middle East to defeat ISIS, just as we did in World War II to stop Hitler. He disagreed on the grounds that we’ve had a habit of not opposing overseas dictatorial atrocities in the name of political expediency.

I can’t argue with that proposition but I feel it doesn’t excuse not taking action now to quash a force set upon the destruction of anyone who, in their eyes, fails to conform to the rules of the Caliphate they wish to set up as the only law of the land. It’s a call to arms that has attracted believers from Europe and the U.S.

Meanwhile, maybe we’ll find a way to intervene in Hong Kong where youthful demonstrators look to apply democratic principles to overturn Beijing’s rules on how presidential candidates are to be selected. The irony there, the N.Y. Times tells us, is that local merchants – already preyed on by gangs taking a piece of the profits – have joined pro- Beijing thugs in removing the protestors’ Occupy Central tents from the clogged retail district.

Things have gotten so strange that states like California and New York have passed legislation mandating “clear assent” to sexual relations between students in the state university system, as a response to the hundreds of rape cases reported on campuses, coast to coast.

It’s enough to send me to the Mets’ clubhouse to cheer up Sandy Alderson. After all, he just got a new 3-year deal to make that team into a contender again.

When you compare that mission to everything else going on in the world, it’s a cinch.

– Ron Leir 

So ‘hungry’ for news, he takes a whole bundle, cops say

An East Orange man has been booked as a serial newspaper stealer in Nutley. On Sept. 30, Hertilus Duvelsaint, 57, was issued a summons for theft and a warrant for eluding police along with several motor vehicle tickets after Nutley police officers say they caught him with the goods.

During the early morning hours, as cops conducted a surveillance of a Centre St. store where prior newspaper thefts had been reported, police said they observed a man, later identified as Duvelsaint, approach the store and take the stack of Star Ledger newspapers delivered there.

Police said the suspect placed the papers in a 2003 4-door silver Toyota and drove off, ignoring officers’ orders to stop. Police said he “accelerated … and continued to flee [while] failing to yield to officers’ vehicles and several red traffic signals.”

The Toyota was finally halted, about a mile west of the crime scene, at Centre St. and Povershon Ave.

Det. Sgt. Anthony Montanari said that police have linked Duvelsaint to at least four previous newspaper thefts at the same Centre St. spot on July 23 and Sept. 15, 17 and 24, on the strength of video surveillance providing the suspect’s vehicle make and model and a description of the suspect.

Police surmise that Duvelsaint’s plan was to sell the papers on his own and pocket the assets.

Montanari said that other newspaper thefts have been reported at another Nutley location including one on Aug. 28 in which 400 papers, valued at $400, were taken, “but so far we’ve been unable to trace those crimes to this suspect.”

Meanwhile, Duvelsaint – who, according to Montanari, has declined to provide police with any explanation for taking the papers on Sept. 30 – remains free, pending a court appearance, after posting bail, which was set at $2,500 with a 10% cash option.

In other episodes logged during the week ending Oct. 3, the Nutley PD responded to 50 medical calls, 23 motor vehicle crashes and these incidents:

Sept. 27 

An Oakridge Ave. motor vehicle stop resulted in the arrest of Darren Gutierrez, 21, of Nutley, on charges of possession of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute, possession within 1,000 feet of a school, possession within 500 feet of a park and possession of CDS in a motor vehicle. Gutierrez was released, pending a court date, after posting a 10% cash option on $25,000 bail.

Sept. 28 

Ryan Smith, 30, of Hoboken, was stopped by police while driving on Harrison St. for a warrant from Hackettstown. He was also ticketed for alleged violations of unlicensed driver and maintenance of lamps and turned over to Hackettstown PD.


Someone took a silver mountain bike that its owner had placed behind some bushes in front of their doorstep on Passaic Ave. The owner told police he’d been hoping to buy a lock for the bike.

Sept. 29 

A tenant in a Chestnut St. apartment building reported that the common door to the building had been forced open. Police checked the interior doors and an unlocked storage area but found nothing disturbed.


An apparent fraud victim reported to police that they were mailed an invoice for an online poker credit owed to a Bank of America account. Police advised the victim to contact the bank to resolve the issue.


About two weeks after Nutley PD had charged Martin Lucas, 48, of Newark, at Vreeland and Hillside Aves. in connection with an alleged narcotics transaction involving crack cocaine, Lucas was arrested again on a similar charge – this time in Garfield. Police said Lucas was nabbed at 1:49 a.m. after allegedly pounding on a resident’s door and shouting threats. Police said they found a crack pipe and drug paraphernalia on Lucas when they searched him. He was released on a summons pending a court date.

Sept. 30 

Police responded to a Whitford Ave. residence on a report of an attempted burglary. The residents told police that the front door had what appeared to be pry marks near the handle and exterior locks and that the door wasn’t locking properly. It appeared that no entry had been made nor was anything taken, police said.

Oct. 1 

Someone swiped a cement planter from in front of a Chestnut St. house, the owner told police. The planter, green with a Roman flower design on the outside, had plants in it, weighed more than 50 pounds and was valued at about $70.


Someone damaged the front steps of Building C in a Passaic Ave. condominium complex, it was reported to police. The vandalism occurred sometime between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., police said.

Oct. 2 

Police responded to an attempted burglary reported at a Franklin Ave. location. A realtor who, police said, is showing the building to prospective occupants, showed officers that the bottom of the front door had pry marks and that the glass in the door was broken. No one got inside, however. The building was secured and detectives were alerted.

Oct. 3 

Someone removed the passenger side mirror from a Coeyman Ave. resident’s vehicle, police said. A piece of the mirror was found in the driveway. The owner told police that four teens were seen inside a 4-door silver sedan driving through the area during the night.

– Ron Leir  

Netflix has made watching TV unnecessary and frustrating


By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent 

So you’ve got to wait a while before you can watch your favorite shows. It’s worth it, frankly, if you’re a Netflix subscriber — and if you haven’t subscribed yet, you’re truly missing out.

There are numerous reasons why for me, TV is not the way to watch shows anymore. But perhaps the biggest reason is the lack of commercials. There aren’t any on Netflix streaming — and I can say, with ease, it’s been a few years since I last watched a commercial.

But it’s something well beyond the commercials that makes Netflix so appealing.

Perhaps most notably, it’s the original programming that has made the streaming service a must-have.

There are numerous shows the service now offers, but the three biggest — “Orange Is The New Black,” “House of Cards” and “The Killing” are perhaps three of the best shows out there, period. And aside from the first three seasons of “The Killing,” which did air on regular TV, none ever have to be seen with annoying breaks.

“Orange Is The New Black” is the real-life story of Piper Kerman, a Connecticut woman who spent 18 months in prison after she was charged and convicted of helping her friend smuggle illicit narcotics.

“House of Cards,” starring Kevin Spacey, is based on a British show of the same name, with an American twist, and follows the highs and lows of a man who went from being a member of the House of Representatives, to vice president to the president of the United States.

Netflix.com The cast of ‘The Killing.’

The cast of ‘The Killing.’


And “The Killing,” easily the best of the of the three shows, is an extremely dark drama that follows two fictional Seattle police detectives who are responsible for some of the most brutal crimes imaginable.

Another reason why these shows are as popular as they are likely stems from the ability to binge-watch them.

Whenever a new season is ready, Netflix releases the entire season’s episodes on the same day.

And what that does, essentially, for those who choose to binge-watch, is create more of a 12- or 13-part full-length feature than it does an episodic show.

When the episodes of each of the three shows were last released, I watched each in a matter of two to three days. The shows are so good, it’s next to impossible to stop watching.

I wasn’t going to do it this way initially. But the shows are that good.

And yet there’s a problem for most viewers when shows like “Orange,” “Cards” and “The Killing” end — you find yourself feeling lost, sad almost, that it could be a year or more before more episodes are available.

That, of course, is driven by the notion that generally, there are 12 or 13 episodes a year. (The fourth and final season of “The Killing” only had four episodes).

But that’s what makes the shows so intensely good. Having about half of a normal season’s worth of episodes ensures that each successive season gets better. The shows’ popularity grows. It’s almost impossible to get sick of the shows.

The biggest drawback to the Netflix shows is that the streaming company does not release statistics on how many people watch the shows. So it becomes impossible to make solid comparisons to shows on terrestrial television. But it doesn’t seem to matter — because “Orange” and “Cards” have each been nominated for Emmy Awards.

Imagine that? Shows that have never aired on TV have gotten Emmy nominations — they’re that good.

Beyond the original programming, so many other TV shows are available for streaming. I became enamored with “Grey’s Anatomy” and “The West Wing” after watching each episode of the series on Netflix.

And there wasn’t a single commercial break.

So the bottom line is the $8.99 a month cost is well worth it for fans of TV shows who just don’t have the time for commercials. And best of all, every new subscriber gets the first month for free.

So if you’ve been unsure of whether subscribing to Netflix would be worth it, waver no more — it’s worth every penny you’ll spend if you’re ready to watch.


Kevin Canessa Jr. can be reached at kevincanessa@ gmail.com. 

Sushi Samba is worth the trip to the West Village


By Kevin Canessa Jr.

Observer Correspondent 


If you’re a fan of sushi — but don’t like being limited to just sushi when you go out to eat — Sushi Samba in New York City’s West Village is the place to go. Better yet, if you like a mix of Brazilian and Peruvian food, you’re going to fall in love with Sushi Samba quicker than you could imagine.

The first Sushi Samba opened in New York City in 2000, when one of the owners, a frequent visitor to Sao Paolo, Brazil learned that Sao Paolo had the largest concentration of Japanese people outside Japan, according to the restaurant’s general manager Joe Ofmani. Back then, the owner decided he wanted to fuse a love for sushi with the incredible cuisines of Brazil and Peru.

And from there, things took off.

There are now other locations in London, Las Vegas, South Beach Miami and Coral Gables, Fla. (home to the University of Miami).

Dining at any of the locations, but most notably in New York, is like nothing you’ll experience elsewhere, Ofmani says.



“And that’s because we like people to really enjoy the whole experience at Sushi Samba,” Ofmani said. “We want our guests to experience the menu and the atmosphere. We ask our guests what they like and don’t like. So what ultimately happens is our diners will enjoy sushi and hot food together.”

Ofmani says the concept at Sushi Samba is to “share a little of a lot of food.”

“It’s family style,” he said. “And our patrons really enjoy it that way.”

But it’s hardly just the food that contributes to the whole experience at Sushi Samba. Every Friday and Saturday night, from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., there’s a DJ on hand to play what Ofmani calls “Samba House” music.

“There’s a lot of drum and bass sounds,” Ofmani said. “It really contributes to a great atmosphere.”

That atmosphere is spread over two entire floors, as well.

There’s a huge dining area that includes an incredibly big bar (see above photos). And, the second floor includes a completely outdoor dining experience with New York City views.

“If the weather is good, it’s a great way to experience Sushi Samba,” Ofmani said.

Ofmani says there are two happy hours at Sushi Samba every day of the week except Saturdays. The first is from 4 to 7 p.m., and the second is from 11 p.m. until closing. There are a lot of drink specials — and that includes the city’s largest selection of the Japanese drink sake.

Sake is made from fermented rice, Ofmani says, and its creation process is similar to the preparation of beer.

“We pair it with the types of food people decide to order,” Ofmani said. “It’s a lot like how wine is paired with different foods. There are many kinds to choose from.”

So just how good is Sushi Samba?

Lots of celebrities have dined there over the years.

You never know if you’ll bump into former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, or Jamie Foxx, Alyssa Milano, Willow Smith, Lindsay Lohan — or a host of others who have repeatedly returned to the restaurant.

And, not too long ago, chefs from the restaurant appeared on “Good Day New York” with Greg Kelly and Rosanna Scotto.

So if you’re looking for a great meal and want the entire New York City experience, give Sushi Samba a try. Chances are by the time you get home, you’ll be stuffed and planning another visit to the place in the not-too-distant future.