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Category: News

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 »

A flair for fashion – and history


By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent 


Holding center stage at the Kearny Museum is a display of feminine fashions from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The costumes have been there for awhile, but they’ve never looked as lovely as they do today.

And that has everything to do with a 20-year-old Kearny woman who gives new meaning to the words “diligence” and “dedication.”

We were introduced to this historical fashionista by Sandra McCleaster, a museum board member, who wanted people to be aware of the exceptional work the young lady had done.

Her name is Gabriela Salvador. A lifelong township resident and a 2012 graduate of Kearny High School, she is currently a student at William Paterson University in Wayne. Last summer, as part of her honors minor in the humanities, she invested her talents and energies in restoring the costume collection. Read more »

Welcome Special Olympics USA


By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent 


If you were on Kearny Ave. late last Friday morning, you most likely saw a group of men, one of them holding a torch, jogging down the street.

The runners were members of the Kearny Police Department, and the torch — the “Flame of Hope” — represented the law enforcement community’s support of the Special Olympics, which this year has special meaning for our state.

Last Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the summer games of Special Olympics New Jersey took place at the College of New Jersey in Pennington, with the athletes competing in aquatics, gymnastics, track and field, softball, tennis, powerlifting and even bocce. Read more »