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Category: News

Around Town


Belleville Public Library and Information Center, 221 Washington Ave., hosts The Mad Scientist’s Laboratory, involving crafts and activities, on Tuesdays at 2:30 p.m., open to all ages. The August schedule: “Rocket Power,” Aug. 5; “To the Stars,” Aug. 12; “What Planet,” Aug. 19; and “Alien Life,” Aug. 26.

The library will screen these children’s films on Fridays at 2 p.m.: “Ice Age,” Aug. 1; “Monsters vs. Aliens,” Aug. 8, “The Lego Movie” Aug. 15, “Happy Feet” Aug. 22 and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” on Aug. 29.


The Essex County SummerMusic Concert Series presents Jersey Sound and Almost Queen in a rock and roll show Friday, Aug. 1, at 7:30 p.m. in Brookdale Park. Jersey Sound is one of the Tri-State area’s premier oldies band, and Almost Queen is a tribute band featuring the songs of the 1970s group Queen. Admission is free.

The Fab Four come to Bloomfield in a free concert Friday, Aug. 8, when the Essex County SummerMusic Concert Series hosts the Beatles tribute band, featuring former cast members of the Broadway show “Beatlemania,” at 7:30 p.m. in Brookdale Park. For more information, call the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs at 973‑239-2485.


Harrison will mark National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 5, with a program co-sponsored by the Harrison Police Department and Harrison/East Newark Elks. From 6 to 9 p.m. on Aug. 5, residents are asked to lock their doors, turn out outside lights and spend the evening outside with neighbors and police. During those hours, members of the Harrison Police Department and Elks will gather at Roosevelt Park, in front of the Harrison Public Library, along Harrison Ave., to meet residents and share strategies about stopping crime and educating folks about drugs. There will also be games and giveaways for children, along with music and food.


Kearny’s National Night Out celebration, sponsored by the Kearny Police Department, will be held Tuesday, Aug. 5, from 6 to 8 p.m., on Belgrove Drive at Veterans Field. The event will feature live music, a bounce house, spin art, balloon artists, a classic car show and demonstrations by the Hudson County Corrections K-9 unit, Kearny Fire Department and NorthStar Helicopter.

Summer vacation Bible School will be open from Sunday, Aug. 10 to Thursday, Aug. 14, 6 to 8 p.m. each night, at Calvary United Methodist Church, 342 Elm St. All ages are welcome.

“Princess” double features will be screened on the lower level of the Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., on Fridays throughout the summer. Refreshments will be served. Here’s the schedule: Aug. 1 – “Cinderella” (G) at 1 p.m. and “The Swan Princess” (G) at 2:30 p.m.; Aug. 8 – “Beauty and the Beast” (G) at 1 p.m. and “Brave” (PG) at 2:30 p.m.; Aug. 15 – “Shrek” (PG) at 1 p.m. and “The Princess Bride” (PG) at 2:30 p.m.; and Aug. 22 – “Aladdin” (G) at 1 p.m. and “Princess and the Frog” (G) at 2:30 p.m.

Mary’s Traveling Seniors sponsors a five-day, four-night trip to Wildwood, Sept. 14 to 18. Final payment is due by Aug. 1. Price includes transportation, accommodations, breakfasts and dinners, entertainment, dolphin watch cruise, a visit to Cape May and Atlantic City. Cost for double occupancy is $482 and single is $90 additional. A deposit of $150 per person is required. For reservations and more information, call Mary at 201-998-1030.


Join Special Angels Recreation, an organization for special needs children, as they take on the Lyndhurst Police Emergency Squad in a kickball game Aug. 16, at 9 a.m., at the Lyndhurst Little League field on Riverside Ave. After the game, there will be fun activities for all. For more information or to learn how to participate, call 201-804- 2469 or email recruitment@emergencysquad.com.

The Lyndhurst Health Department is collecting donations for students in need. Items welcomed include backpacks, marble composition books, notebooks, dividers, loose paper, crayons, and 3-ring binders. Donations can be dropped off at the Health Department, 601 Riverside Ave., Suite 1, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Donations should be made prior to Aug. 31. People with children in need of school supplies are asked to contact the Health Department at 201-804-2500 to schedule a pick-up of the needed supplies. Be prepared to give child’s gender and grade level.

The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and Bergen County Audubon Society announce that the First Sunday-of-the-Month Bird Walk is set for Sunday, Aug. 3, at 10 a.m. in DeKorte Park. The walk starts outside the Meadowlands Environment Center. Check meadowblog.net for last-minute weather updates. Participants are asked to sign a standard liability release that is good for NJMC/BCAS events throughout the year. To R.S.V.P., contact Don Torino of the BCAS or call 201-230-4983.

NJMC Pontoon Boat Cruises are set for 5:30 p.m. for Aug. 5, 7, 13 and 15, departing from River Barge Park, 260 Outwater Lane, Carlstadt. Experienced NJMC staff lead this two-hour cruise of the Hackensack River. Cost is $15 per person. Cruises are recommended for ages 10 and up. Pre-registration is required. For a complete schedule of trips, directions, and to register, visit www.njmeadowlands.gov and go to the Parks and Nature Programs tab at the top of the page, or call 201-460-4677.

Lyndhurst Public Library, 355 Valley Brook Ave., announces:

• Children of all ages are welcome for a screening of “Ratatouille!” on Monday, Aug. 4, from 2 to 4 p.m. Registration is required.

• Children in grades pre-k to 3 can make their very own watermelon craft on Wednesday, Aug. 13, from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m. Registration is required.

North Arlington

The North Arlington Woman’s Club holds a flapjack breakfast Saturday, Aug. 23, 8 to 10 a.m., at Applebee’s Restaurant in Kearny. The cost is $10. For tickets, call 201-889-2553.

Chief Louis M. Ghione of the North Arlington Police Department announces that National Night Out is scheduled for the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 5. Residents are encouraged to meet their neighbors and leave a porch light on overnight as a show of unity against crime.

Borough residents are invited to a free outdoor concert featuring the Duprees Aug. 6 at 7 p.m. at Riverside County Park. This concert is co-sponsored by the Borough Recreation Department and Inserra ShopRite.

Food vendors will be available at the park. Residents are advised to bring their own lawn chairs.

The Duprees are known for their romantic interpretations of some of the most popular songs from the ’50s and ’60s.


Story time, crafts and more are planned for this August at Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Drive. For more information or to register for programs, call the library at 973-667-0405 or visit http://nutleypubliclibrary.org. Here’s the schedule:

• Two-Year-Old Story Time will be held Friday, Aug. 1, at 10 a.m. Registration is required and participants must be Nutley residents.

• Drop-in Craft session for children is set for Monday, Aug. 4, at 2 p.m. (while supplies last).

• Family Game Night is open to all ages at 7 p.m. on Aug. 4.

• Play Tuesday is open to children of all ages on Aug. 5 at 1 p.m. • Static Science, a workshop program, is offered Wednesday, Aug. 6, at 2:30 p.m., for ages 8 and up.

• End-of-Summer Reading Treat Party is set for Thursday, Aug. 7, at 1:30 p.m., and features a live reptile show. Children must be registered for summer reading to attend.

• “Happy Birthday, Annie Oakley,” a program on the famous sharpshooter and onetime township resident, is set for Saturday, Aug. 9, at 2 p.m. Local historian Nancy Greulich will appear as Oakley. The event, open to all ages, includes a craft and birthday treats.

• A screening of “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” is set for Aug. 1 at 2 p.m. as part of the library’s First Friday Films program. A new film is shown the first Friday of each month. Check the library’s event calendar for a film schedule.

Attacked by bees & other news from NPD blotter

Police responded to Booth Park on July 24, at 4:59 p.m., after getting a call about a female who was screaming and running frantically in the park. The caller told police the female had possibly been attacked by bees.

Upon arrival, officers found the female sitting in her vehicle, conscious and alert. She told them she was walking her dog in the park when, suddenly, they were swarmed by bees.

Police said officers spotted a nest, at knee level from the ground in a nearby bush, with a piece of the nest broken off and on the ground.

After marking off the area with caution tape, police alerted the Parks Department about the incident and a parks crew was due to deal with the nest in the morning.

The female victim, who was examined by the Nutley Volunteer Emergency Response Service, told police she’d follow up with her personal doctor.

Other incidents logged by police during the past week included the following:

July 21 

A resident of a senior citizen home was the would-be victim of an apparent attempted scam. Police said the resident got a call on their cellular phone from an unknown person who said their daughter had been kidnapped and would be killed unless her father came up with $1,500. The caller claimed to be the brother of someone who was involved in a motor vehicle accident with the resident’s daughter. Police said the resident called the daughter and learned she was fine and hadn’t been in an accident. After doing an internet search of the incoming phone number, police said they found multiple complaints logged about similar efforts to collect ransom payments for family members allegedly being held hostage. Efforts by police to reach someone through that number were unavailaing.

July 23 

Someone used a paint marker to scrawl a derogatory message on the driver’s side portion of the front windshield of a vehicle parked on Oakridge Ave., police said. The incident was reported at 1:30 p.m.

At 3:15 p.m., a Wayne Place resident reported that someone had slashed flat the rear passenger side tire of their vehicle and left scratch marks on the vehicle’s rear panel.

At 6:57 p.m., a Washington Ave. business reported getting stuck with bad checks. The credit manager told police a customer who bought a vehicle gave two checks for $2,000 and $5,000 as a deposit that didn’t clear. After calling to verify the buyer’s place of employment, the manager was told the buyer isn’t currently working there. The buyer, who applied for a loan, has possession of the vehicle which is valued at $19,532. Police said the credit manager asked the buyer to return the vehicle or to make good on the $2,500 deposit. Police said they left a phone message for the buyer, who, they learned through the state Motor Vehicle Commission, has a suspended driver’s license. Police advised the credit manager to send a certified letter to the buyer to forward the money. The case is still open, police said.

 July 24 

At 8:45 a.m., police responded to a Nutley Ave. location on a call about a neighbors’ dispute. A resident griped that their backyard neighbor has been banging on their fence at all hours of the day and night and on this date, made the noise at 1 and 3 a.m. and again, just before officers arrived. The resident said the neighbor also harasses them with verbal tirades outside. Police cautioned the neighbor to cease the annoying behavior.

At 8:38 p.m., police responded to a Washington Ave. gas station where the attendant told them that after they’d pumped $38 worth of gas into a newer model Honda Civic with no plates, closed the gas cap and walked to the driver’s side window to collect the money, the driver took off, last seen heading south on Washington. The driver was described as a white female, possibly in her 20s, with shoulder-length hair. Police planned to review surveillance tape with the attendant to try and come up with an ID of the driver.

– Ron Leir 

NAPD seeks man who allegedly passed 4 fake $100s


The North Arlington Police Department  is currently investigating an incident involving use of counterfeit $100 bills at a 7-Eleven on Ridge Rd.

A man, approximately 6′  in height, 150 lbs., wearing a baseball cap  with a Seattle Mariners logo, a white tank top, black/white basketball shorts, white socks, black sandals and black backpack entered the 7-Eleven July 20 at 6:37 p.m. The suspect purchased a Green Dot MoneyPak for $350, giving the counter person four, $100 bills that were counterfeit.

If you have seen or are able to identify the individual pictured in the photo, contact the North Arlington Police Department at  201-991-4400.

All calls will be kept confidential.

W.H.A.T. presents ‘The Addams Family’ July 30-Aug. 2, including preview tonight at Angry Coffee Bean



Teen Drama, a theater company for teens celebrating its fifth anniversary this summer, in association with the West Hudson Arts & Theater Company (W.H.A.T.) presents the modern classic Broadway musical “The Addams Family” this summer. The smash-hit musical comedy brings the darkly delirious world of Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Grandma, Wednesday, Pugsley and, of course, Lurch to spooky and spectacular life.

Performances of the musical, based on the bizarre and beloved family of characters created by legendary cartoonist Charles Addams, are July 30 to Aug. 2 at 7:30 p.m., and a matinee performance Aug. 2 at 1:30 p.m. at the W.H.A.T. Theater, 131 Midland Ave., Kearny (the former St. Stephen’s School).  General admission tickets are $10. A $7 senior citizen discount ticket is being offered at the Saturday matinee.

The cast will make a special appearance on Thursday, July 24 at 7 p.m. for a special preview of the show at The Angry Coffee Bean Café, 89 Ridge Road, North Arlington. (201) 772-5554.

The Teen Drama production features:

Dennis Oliveira (Gomez Addams), Maggie Spector-Williams (Morticia Addams), Faith D’Isa & Rachel Spillane (Wednesday Addams), Abigail Stokes (Pugsley Addams), John McCullough (Fester Addams), Joana Marmelo (Grandma Addams),James Berko (Lurch), Michael Oliveira (Lucas Beikeke), Samantha Armenteros  (Alice Beineke), Tyler Bremner (Mal Beineke), Briana Dickinson, Alyssa Fink, Jillian Fitzpatrick, Lauren Gold, Melanie Hill, Stefanie Pancaro, Spencer Roda, Valentine Rojas, Alyssa Schirm and Julia Truskolawski  (Addams Family Ancestors).

“The Addams Family” is being produced by Michele Sarnoski, who is co-directing with Joe Ferriero. Scott Burzynski, music director; Dana Mannie, choreography (Mary Berko, assistant choreography); Maximo Grano De Oro, crew chief; Matt Lepore, stage manager; and Vincent Venziano and Alex Palomino, stage crew.

Tickets for The Addams Family are $10 and can be purchased online at www.teendrama.org, by phone 1-800-838-3006 or at the door 30 minutes before performances.  Teen Drama can be reached at 973-498-8336 or info@teendrama.org.

Check next week’s issue of The Observer for a full preview of the upcoming shows in our Entertainment section.

Images from funeral procession for Jersey City police Detective Melvin Santiago


Farewell to a brother in blue



On Friday afternoon, regular traffic came to a halt on the Belleville Pike and Ridge Road to open the route for the funeral procession of slain Jersey City Police Detective Melvin Santiago.

The 23-year-old rookie, promoted posthumously to detective, had been ambushed early Sunday, July 13, when he responded to a 911 call at a Jersey City Walgreens.

Thousands of police officers lined the streets around St. Aloysius Church in Jersey City during the Friday morning funeral Mass, after which the body of young hero was taken to Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington for interment. Escorting the cortege was an extraordinary honor guard of what appeared to be at least a thousand police motorcycles.

At the intersection of the Pike and Kearny Ave./Ridge Road, members of the Kearny Police Department, including its honor guard, stood in silent tribute, along with members of the public who bowed their heads or placed their hands over their hearts as the hearse passed by.

Rest in peace, Detective Santiago.

— Karen Zautyk

State eyes raising part of Pike


By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 


The Rt. 7/Belleville Turnpike corridor which runs through Kearny’s meadows area and beyond is getting a lot of attention these days from state and federal transit agencies.

For the past couple of years, contractors hired by the state Department of Transportation have been doing patchwork repairs on the Wittpenn Bridge which carries Rt. 7 traffic over the Hackensack River between Jersey City and Kearny while, simultaneously, building a replacement span, just north of the existing bridge. Read more »

Taxes up on average by $244

2014-07-16 09_41_31-428 Kearny Ave - Google Maps

By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 


Now that Trenton – even without a gubernatorial endorsement by the town’s Democratic mayor – has gifted Kearny $2.5 million in transitional aid and reduced its pension obligations by nearly $435,000, Kearny property owners can know what to expect.

They’re still getting a tax increase, just not as severe as the town had feared before receiving the state’s largess.

According to calculations by town CFO Shuaib Firozvi, of a total 2014 budget of $75.8 million, $40.8 million must be raised by local taxation, which is up by 3% from last year’s $39.6 million. Read more »

Wild pursuit ends with 3 arrests



It started as an alleged speeding incident and led to a frantic chase that ended in three arrests.

Here’s the account given by Lyndhurst Police:

Shortly after 2 p.m. on July 14, Patrol Officer James Goral pulled over a 2008 BMW traveling east on Page Ave. for exceeding the speed limit at the Schuyler Ave. intersection.

As Goral approached the vehicle, however, police said the driver suddenly pulled away, made a U-turn, and headed west on Page, turning on numerous side streets.

Police said the driver continued up to Ridge Road northbound, eventually turning west onto Valley Brook Ave. and then north onto Delafield Ave. where he encountered other patrol vehicles. Read more »

Builder targets eyesore


By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 


A 36-unit residential development being pitched to the Nutley Zoning Board of Adjustment has township and school officials on the edge of their seats wondering how many schoolage kids the project may generate if approved.

Mayor Alphonse Petracco is blunt about it. “The issue is this: Our schools can’t take one more student.”

And that’s why the township Board of Education is reviewing several scenarios to address existing overcrowding situations, none of which has yet been committed to, according to BOE President Charles Kucinski. Read more »