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Flour power in Harrison



The first time it happened, the evening of last Aug. 22, Warren St. resident Dorothy Songile recalled, “I had come outside to bring out the trash and the entire yard was covered in what I thought was snow.”

It turned out to be “whole wheat flour – it looked like corn meal,” Songile said.

And, Songile discovered, it was from Pechter’s, the sprawling commercial bakery whose giant silo practically casts a shadow over the backyard of her 2-family home and garage. “Next morning,” she said, “they sent a crew over with garden hoses to clean the stuff off my garage roof. They were using mops and squeegies to collect it and put the flour in the street.”

But she said they didn’t touch her windows to which flour deposits had firmly adhered. “My grandson and his friend were here a whole week using scrub brushes trying to get it off,” she said.

They were only partly successful, Songile said.

Pechter’s “paid me $150” for the damages but she said she gave $300 to the two boys for their labor.

Then, it happened again. At around 10 a.m. this past Jan. 5, Songile heard what sounded like “pigeons or eagles hitting my windows” and, when she rushed outside to see what was happening, she found her windows. siding and yard “thickly covered” with flour.

“Only this time,” she said, “it was 100 times worse than before.”

And, she said, her neighbors across the street, in the 700 block of Warren St., also got hit, with the material covering their wrought-iron railings and front porch.

She said the stuff also landed on some parked cars on the block and prompted the owners to pay for washings.

“I’ve been living here since 1952,” Songile said, and, in prior years, “some [flour sprays] have happened in smaller bursts,” but not to the extent of the onslaughts last summer and this past winter.

Songile asked the Harrison Board of Health if it could do anything to help her but she said she was told the issue wasn’t a public health matter.

However, she said a BOH representative did accompany her to the bakery to ask if someone from the company could at least respond to her concerns and that has prompted a phone call from a West Orange attorney representing the bakery asking her to submit a damage estimate for review, something she’s now in the process of preparing.

That bill, she said, would likely consist of estimates for power washing, cleaning out her air-conditioners and related expenses.

Songile said she hopes, at some point, to be able to put these disquieting episodes behind her.

– Ron Leir 

Around Town


Bloomfield historian Rich Rockwell will present historic photos of houses from the 1880s to the 1920s Thursday, June 19, at 7 p.m. at the Parish House at the Church on the Green, 147 Broad St. The program, with then-and-now comparisons, will focus on styles of architecture, building trends, remodeling trends and preservation efforts in Bloomfield’s Historic District and nearby neighborhoods.

Bloomfield Public Library Book Club, 90 Broad St., meets Monday, July 7, 6:45 to 7:45 p.m., to discuss “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, a charming novel that will appeal to fans of Jane Austen, Helen Simonson, and Nevil Shute.

For more information or help in locating a copy of the book club selection, call the Reference Desk at 973-566- 6200, ext. 602.

Job Haines Home, 250 Bloomfield Ave., will host these activities:

• A free weekly arthritis exercise program running for eight weeks, starts Wednesday, June 11. The one-hour class, beginning at 10:30 a.m., will be taught by a certified instructor and conducted in accordance with guidelines established by the National Arthritis Foundation.

• An AARP Safety Driving Program will be held Tuesday, June 17, and Wednesday, June 18, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. both days. Participants must attend both sessions to receive a completion certificate that could help reduce auto insurance premiums. The cost is $15 for AARP members and $20 for non-members. Checks should be payable to AARP.

Light refreshments will be served.

To R.S.V.P., call 973-743- 0792. For more information, visit www.job-haines.org.


Presbyterian Boys-Girls Club, 663 Kearny Ave., hosts a beach party dance Friday, June 13, 7 to 10 p.m., for teens only. Guests are encouraged to dress for the beach. Prizes will be given for best dancers and best beachwear. Kearny teachers and members of the PBGC’s board of directors will supervise the dance.

Trinity Episcopal Church, 575 Kearny Ave., sponsors a flea market Saturday, June 14, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Walk-in vendors are welcome. Cost for one table is $15 and two tables for $25. Call 201-991-5894 for more information.

Join the Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., for these upcoming programs:

• Rutgers professor/author Thomas McCabe presents “World Cup Tournament Kickoff” Wednesday, June 11, at 7 p.m., covering the early history of soccer in the West Hudson area through the 1990 and 1994 United States teams, which featured three area all-star players.

• The library will stream various World Cup matches live. Here’s the schedule:

Friday, June 13: Mexico vs. Cameroon at noon; and Spain vs. Netherlands at 3 p.m.

Monday, June 16: Germany vs. Portugal at noon; and Iran vs. Nigeria at 3 p.m.

Wednesday, June 18: Australia vs. Netherlands at noon; and Spain vs. Chile at 3 p.m.

Friday, June 20: Italy vs. Costa Rica at noon; and Switzerland vs. France at 3 p.m. Monday, June 23: Australia vs. Spain at noon.

• A chess class for children, ages 8 to 15, will run eight weeks on Tuesdays, 2 to 4 p.m., June 24 to Aug. 12. The class is limited to only 14 students. Call the library at 201-998-2666 to reserve your spot. Instructors from the Newark Chess Club will teach the classes.

•  A Summer Reading  Kickoff Party is open to all at the Branch Library, 759 Kearny Ave., Tuesday, June 17, 3 to 5:30 p.m. No registration is required. Children can pick up their summer reading logs and volunteers from the Friends of the Library will help kids make summer reading selections. Milk and cookies will be served.

For more information on any of these programs, call the library at 201-998-2666 or visit www.kearnylibrary.org.


Lyndhurst Health Department’s free meditation course originally planned for Wednesday, June 18, has been rescheduled for Wednesday, July 2. Led by certified oneness trainer and Lyndhurst resident Parbatie Singh, this class will resume regular hours Wednesday, July 9, at 6:30 p.m. in the recreation room at 601 Riverside Ave. Enter the doors facing the Passaic River.

The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission will close the Saw Mill Creek Trail in DeKorte Park indefinitely, beginning Friday, June 20, while PSE&G replaces the power line towers on the trail. The trail is expected to remain closed for at least one year.

Lyndhurst Public Library, 355 Valley Brook Ave., offers the following children’s activities for which registration is required:

• Father’s Day Craft, for  pre-k to grade 3, Thursday, June 12, 3:30 to 4:15 p.m.

• Summer Mobile Craft,  for grades 1 to 4, Wednesday, June 18, 3:30 to 4:15 p.m.

• Summer Reading Regis tration, for pre-K to grade 6, for “Fizz, Boom, Read,” the library’s summer reading program. Registration ends June 14. Activities planned include science experiments, robot building, Grossology fun, nature explorations and more. For more information, call the library at 201-804-2480, ext. 3, or visit http://www.lyndhurstlibrary.org/.

Mary Lou Mullins’ monthly bus trip to Atlantic City is set for Sunday, June 29, leaving from St. Michael’s Church parking lot, Ridge Road and Page Ave., at 10:30 a.m. Cost is $30, cash return is $30. Only 10 seats are available. Call Mary Lou at 201-933-2186 for more information or for reservations.

 North Arlington 

The Senior Harmony Club has scheduled a trip to Resorts Casino, Atlantic City, for Wednesday, July 9, and a trip to Mt. Airy Casino in Pennsylvania for Wednesday, Aug. 20. Mt. Airy will give $25 in slot play and a free buffet. For reservations or information, call Florence at 201-991-3173.

North Arlington Public Library patrons can return overdue materials without paying any fines during Fine Amnesty Week, from Monday, June 9, to Saturday, June 14. Materials must be owned by and returned to North Arlington Public Library only. The library cannot waive fees for lost items or fines assessed for overdue items already returned. Materials must be returned during regular operating hours and items left in the drop box will not be eligible for the amnesty. Call 201-955-5640 for operating hours and more information.

Other upcoming events:

• Visit the Angry Coffee  Bean, 89 Ridge Road, Thursday, June 12, at 6 p.m., to learn about Newark and the importance of jazz to the city’s culture.

• Registration is open for  the Summer Reading kick-off event, for which Youth Stages will present a play shop for ages 3 to 9, Wednesday, June 25, at 4 p.m. To register, call 201-955-5640, ext. 126.

• Handwriting expert James  Mihnerick discusses graphoanalysis – the analysis of handwriting – Monday, June 16, at 6:30 p.m.

North Arlington Senior Activity Center, 11 York Road, hosts a Fourth of July Bingo luncheon Friday, June 27. Bingo starts at 10:30 a.m. with lunch at noon and more Bingo games and prizes from 1:30 to 3 p.m. For more information or for reservations, call 201-998-5636.


Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Drive, presents the following programs:

• Explore the founding of  the Township of Nutley Monday, June 23, at 7 p.m. with Nutley Museum director John Simko. This program is free and open to the public; no registration is required.

• Eighteen important paintings, prints and reproductions of artworks from the late 19th and early 20th century from the Nutley Museum’s collection are on view through June 30.

Call the library at 973-667- 0405 for more information.

The Nutley Museum and Historical Society, 65 Church St., houses a collection of town artifacts and artworks by former Nutley artists. The museum is open for special events and by appointment. Admission is free. For information or to arrange a visit, call 973-667-1528.


KPD: Sweet home-alone Alabama

In recent months, Walmart stores across the nation have been the targets of hoax bomb threats. It happened last week in Kearny, but in that particular instance, police were able to identify the culprits, KPD Chief John Dowie reported.

At 6:20 p.m., Monday, June 2, Sgt. Peter Gleason and Officer John Travelino responded to the Harrison Ave. store after an employee reported receiving a call warning that a bomb had been placed in a “Black Ops 2” game box in the video department.

Police and the Kearny Fire Department evacuated the premises. A search revealed that the games were secure in a locked case, which had not been tampered with, and management reopened the store, Dowie said.

The investigation was turned over to Det. John Telle and Det. Sgt. John View, who reportedly were able to trace the call to an address in Loxley, Ala. They contacted police in that town (pop. 1,632) and were later notified that authorities had identified the suspects as two juveniles. “They apparently got bored while home alone, Googled Walmart, got the Kearny number and made the threat,” Dowie said.

Loxley police said the youths’ parents had been notified.

According to published reports, bomb threats, by numerous culprits, have been made against stores in at least 13 states.

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

June 1 

At 11:30 a.m., Officer Chris Levchak spotted an eastbound Ford pickup being operated “in a careless manner” on Harrison Ave. Police said the driver, Froylan Lopez, 27, of Newark, was found to have four warrants — three from Jersey City, one from Vineland – and a fraudulent resident I.D. card. Lopez was charged criminally with possession of a simulated document, and U.S. Immigration was notified.

At 5:30 p.m., police were notified by Kmart that a shoplifter, last seen running toward Bergen Ave., had fled the store with a quantity of creatine pills. Officer Sean Kelly found the suspect, later identified by store personnel, at Bergen and Belgrove Drive. Marcelo Costa, 44, of Kearny, was charged with shoplifting.

Police said he also had five outstanding warrants — two from Lyndhurst and one each from North Arlington, Montclair and Montville.

June 2 

At 8 p.m., Officer Levchak was notified by a concerned citizen that a group of people were apparently smoking marijuana on the front steps of a residence on Davis Ave., near Franklin School.

Approaching the three, he reportedly saw one attempting to secrete an object in a backpack. After the officer ascertained that none of the individuals lived at the address or had permission to be there, one of them — Xavier Guridi, 19, of Kearny — offered to remove objects from the bag, police said. While he was taking out a pair of pants, a marijuana grinder reportedly fell from a pocket. Guridi was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

June 4 

Officer Kelly, advised at 8:30 p.m. that a shoplifter had fled the Rite Aid store on Kearny Ave., found a man fitting the suspect’s description at Chestnut and Hoyt Sts. Store personnel were brought to the scene and I.D.’d him, and a bag he had discarded was found to contain two hair dryers with the anti-theft tags still attached, police said. The suspect reportedly gave his name as Terry Page, but a fingerprint check showed he was Wendell Pittman, 56, of Newark. He was charged with shoplifting and hindering apprehension and on warrants out of Newark, East Orange and Dillon, S.C.

– Karen Zautyk 

ShopRite of Lyndhurst offers healthy eating events

ShopRite of Lyndhurst, an Inserra Supermarkets store, 540 New York Ave., offers the following wellness and healthy eating events led by its in-store registered dietitian Julie Harrington. ShopRite’s free retail dietitian services and the following programs are available to the general public.

For more information or to pre-register for one of the events, contact Harrington at 201-419-9154 or Julie.harrington@  wakefern.com.

Here’s the schedule:

• High Fiber Friday – Friday, June 20, 1 to 3 p.m. Visit the Dietitian’s Corner for some tasty ideas on increasing your daily fiber intake.

• Produce Pick – Tuesdays, June 10 and 17, 2 to 4 p.m. Meet ShopRite’s in-store dietitian in the Produce Department for samples of this month’s pick and recipe ideas.

• Men’s Health Day – Friday,  June 13, 4:30 to 6 p.m. Drop by the Dietitian’s Corner for a recipe for a Father’s Day gift for dad that he is sure to love.

• Earthbound Farms Sam pling – Saturday, June 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. ShopRite’s instore dietitian and a member of the Earthbound Farms Organic team will have samples of flavorful kale creations and recipes.

• Re-Think Your Drink – Monday, June 16, noon to 2 p.m. Get the inside scoop on cooling down this summer with refreshing, non-sugary drink options. • Fresh Food Fast: 5-Ingredient Recipe Cooking Class – Wednesday, June 18, 4 to 5 p.m. Attendees will learn a five-ingredient recipe that takes less time to prepare than picking up takeout. Pre-registration is required. To register, call 201-419-9154 or email Julie.harrington@ wakefern.com.

• Smart Snacking: Clif Mojo Bars – Thursday, June 19, 10 a.m. to noon. Sample Clif Mojo Bars, known as a healthy, on the go snack. • Spread the Love: Nut Butter Tasting – Monday, June 23, noon to 3 p.m. Join in a tasting of all the flavors of Wild Friends nut butters and find out how heart-healthy nuts are.

• Bone Up on Calcium – Thursday, June 26, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visit the Dietitian’s Corner for a yogurt tasting and tips on other great sources of calcium.

• LiveRight with ShopRite Kid’s Day (ages 6 and up) – Friday, June 27, 4 to 5 p.m. At a free cooking class, kids can sample their creations and bring home recipes too. Pre-registration is required, and a parent or guardian must be present. To register, call 201-419-9154 or email Julie.harrington@  wakefern.com.

• Smart Snacking: Crispy Fruit Freeze-Dried Snacks –Saturday, June 28, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sample Crispy Fruit Freeze-Dried offerings and learn other ways to combat the dreaded “snack attack.”

• Build a Better Burger – Monday, June 30, 1 to 2 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m. Join a cooking class aimed at helping attendees learn healthy burger recipes and nutrition tips. To register, call 201-419-9154 or email Julie.harrington@  wakefern.com.

Logged on the Lyndhurst police blotter

May 25 

Dima Dibb, 27, of Paterson, was issued a summons for shoplifting after police said security personnel at the ShopRite on New York Ave. detained Dibb, at 4:18 p.m., for allegedly placing $37 worth of probiotic in a handbag and attempting to leave without paying. Dibb was released pending a court date.

May 26 

At 11:33 p.m., police spotted a vehicle parked in the drive-thru of the Burger King on Park Ave. with the driver asleep at the wheel. Police said that when an officer tapped on the window, the driver responded by driving out of the drive-thru and across the street into a parking lot where he was arrested. Taquill Ferrell, 33, of Lyndhurst, was charged with DWI and eluding. He was released after posting bail, pending a court appearance.

May 27 

At 8:26 a.m., police received a report of theft from a Terminal Road location. Police said three batteries were reported stolen from a 1996 Peterbilt truck from Elizabeth. The batteries were valued at $95 each, police said.

May 30 

At 9 a.m., police responded to a call about an erratic driver whose vehicle was pursued to the driveway of a residence in the 500 block of Fern Ave. Police said the motor was still running and the driver appeared to be sleeping. Police charged the driver, Rafal Rynkiewicz, 45, of Lyndhurst, with DWI and no insurance or registration.

May 31 

At 11 a.m., police received a report that someone removed a pair of truck wheels left in a residential driveway in the 400 block of Riverside Ave. The wheels, valued at $1,800, were believed to have been taken sometime overnight, police said.

June 2 

At 8:42 p.m., a Belleville man called police to report a theft from the Kings Court Health & Sports Club on Riverside Ave. The victim told police he’d left his wallet in a secured locker and when he returned, he found the lock disabled and his wallet gone. Police said the wallet contained $200 and the man’s driver’s license and credit cards.

June 3 

An attempted burglary on Post Ave. may have been thwarted by a house pet, police said. A resident in the 100 block called police at 8:50 p.m. to report that when they went into the backyard, they found a small table and chair positioned under their first-floor window. Police said the window had been left open to allow ventilation for a dog inside. A screen in the window was found to be intact, police said. Police surmise that the would-be intruder may have been scared away by the dog.

June 5 

Police are investigating a report of a theft from JPR Cycle in the 100 block of Park Ave. The incident was logged at 6:52 p.m. Police said a man and woman, later joined by two other men, apparently distracted a store employee with questions about certain merchandise and, after they left, the employee discovered that several motorcycle video cameras valued at $1,200 were missing, along with other items. Police said they are reviewing the store’s surveillance videotape for possible leads to the suspects who were described as Hispanic, between 25 and 35.

– Ron Leir 

Nutley PD: Resident finds tree branch on parked car


May 24

• At 4:44 p.m., police were called to High and Prospect Sts. where they found a large tree limb next to a parked car. Police said the vehicle, parked on High St., was dented on the driver’s side of the vehicle. The owner told police the tree limb had fallen on their car. The branch was removed by the township. Police said the branch had fallen from private property. Read more »

Then & Now


By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent 

What you’re looking at above is Omaha Beach on the coast of Normandy, France. ‘Now,’ it is a peaceful strand, a place of contemplation. ‘Then,’ it was a place of unimaginable horror. And valor.

This week, we decided to use The Observer’s popular photo feature to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day, which will be observed Friday.

It has been seven long decades since June 6, 1944, and the world has changed in ways those living then could never have foreseen. What must never change is our country’s acknowledgement of the debt of honor we owe the men who endured that lethal storm of combat.

There are some still among us, but too few and fewer every day, who were there. As D-Day must never be forgotten, neither must they, alive or dead. Read more »

Ferraro’s credentials questioned


By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 


Is Frank Ferraro, the exiled on-leave Kearny superintendent of schools, properly certified to be a public school administrator?

Maybe not, says Kearny Board of Education general counsel Kenneth Lindenfelser.

Of course I am, says Ferraro. This debate figures to drag on for at least another month or so, at which point the BOE will have to resolve a separate question about who’s the leader of the gang – since, on June 30, Acting Superintendent Patricia Blood’s contract extension runs out.

Meanwhile, though, there is the Ferraro matter to consider. Read more »

Bar, eatery shut for ABC violations


By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent


A local tavern has been ordered shut for 60 days, and a local eatery that serves liquor will be closed for a week, after the owners pleaded guilty to a series of Alcoholic Beverage Control violations.

Last Tuesday, after a pre-meeting public hearing, the Kearny governing body slapped liquor license suspensions on The Gin Mill, Brighton and Afton Aves., and Ponte Romana Restaurant, Kearny and Johnston Aves.

Luis Gomes, licensee of Ponte Romana, didn’t contest the charges. Initially, attorney James Madden entered a not guilty plea on behalf of Gill Mill licensee John Hodnett but, in the end, he and his client accepted a reduced penalty. Read more »

19 left homeless by fire


By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 


Occupants of a three-story, multi-family residence on Fifth St. in Harrison escaped with their lives, but not much else, as fire raged through the building in the early morning hours last Wednesday, May 28.

Harrison Fire Department (HFD) logs show that the first Harrison units were sent to the location, 12 S. Fifth St., at 3:32 a.m., and soon after, a second alarm was sounded, triggering a mutual aid response from Kearny, East Newark, Jersey City and North Arlington. A third alarm soon followed.

North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue provided stand-by coverage for Harrison.

Firefighters safely evacuated five families from the huge burning building (an estimated 55 feet wide by 70 feet deep by 36 feet high), and, as a precautionary move, asked the residents of 14 and 16 S. Fifth St. to temporarily vacate their homes. Read more »