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Category: News

Historic firehouse under restoration

Photos by Karen Zautyk


Top: One of the vintage photos that hang on the walls inside the old firehouse between 70 and 80 Halstead St. (bottom)



By Karen Zautyk

Members of the Kearny Fire Department, who are usually in the business of saving lives, have voluntarily taken on another responsibility — saving a small but precious piece of Kearny history.
For 15 years, on their own time and using their own money (plus gracious donations from individuals and businesses), they have been restoring the only building in Kearny declared an official historic site by the State of New Jersey.
And we’re willing to bet most of you aren’t even aware of it.
The structure is the oldest standing firehouse in town: a small two-story brick building on Halstead St., just west of Kearny Ave. It dates to 1895 and was originally the headquarters for Highland Hose Co. No. 4, back in the days when a clanging bell was the only way to alert firefighters to an emergency, and when rigs pulled by galloping horses raced through the streets to answer a call.
The building hasn’t been a working firehouse for decades, but it is still in regular use. Nicknamed the “Exempt House,” it is the monthly meeting place for members of Kearny Firemen’s Mutual Benevolent Associations 18 and 218.
These meetings are held on the beautifully restored second-floor of the building, which has been rehabbed floor-to-ceiling to pristine condition. Even the windows are new. They are exact replicas of the original ones and were installed following the specific criteria required when renovating a historic site.
We learned all of this from retired KFD Deputy Chief George Harris, who acted as our tour guide on a recent visit. The goal, Harris explained, is to eventually restore the entire structure and open it to the public as a Fire Department museum. But there is still a long way to go.

Retired Dep. Fire Chief George Harris leans on old communications switchboard.


An old fire bell.


In addition to the second-story rehab, completed work has included refurbishing the exterior brickwork: Bricks were removed, repaired, and put back, one by one. Those brand-new-looking ones that you see are actually all original to the 19th century building.
The rehab job has been tough going since the beginning. When the firefighters initially decided to launch the project more than a decade ago, they found that the structure was sinking. “We had to jack up the building,” Harris recalled.
Currently, the firefighters are busy repairing the staircase leading to the second floor. They have also discovered that the roof was sagging, so that is being replaced.
As we noted, the KFD members — active and retired — do all of this exhausting work themselves, with occasional donated labor, for which they are most grateful.
When it was a working firehouse, the living quarters were on the second floor and the ground floor housed the rigs and the horses. That is, after the department got its own horses. Prior to acquiring KFD equines, firefighters had to borrow the animals. When the alarm bell rang, “the milkman or the bread man would bring their horses to the firehouse,” Harris explained.
Speaking of bells: Among the artifacts in the building is the 1886 alarm bell, which had gone missing but has now returned home. “It was found in the basement of Schuyler School, but no one knows how it got there,” Harris noted.
Over the years, other treasures have also reappeared. including a collection of 19th century trophies which had been packed away and forgotten in boxes in the firehouse cellar.
“We also found a lot of stuff after a flood in the basement in 1962,” Harris said. “Things were thrown out, but Firefighter Billy McGeehan went to the dump and brought them back.” Kudos to McGeehan and his sense of history.
When the dream of a museum is realized, the public will be treated to an exceptional exhibit, portions of which we were privileged to see. This includes the old “dispatch center,” through which all town emergency calls were routed long before 911 and cell phones. (No, children, dinosaurs did not roam Kearny at the time!)
There is also the old “life net,” a massive circle of canvas that had once been the only escape route from a fire. The item, which now hangs on a wall and is covered with patches and badges from fire departments around the world, was still in use until the 1960’s. Even later, the KFD used it for training. “It took eight people to hold it,” Harris recalled. “We used to train by jumping into it from the second story.” That practice, he remembers, was stopped in 1970 by then-Chief John Phillips, who was modernizing the department.
A museum will also offer visitors the chance to pay silent tribute to the two members of the Kearny Fire Department who lost their lives in the line of duty, and who are honored by plaques on the wall: Capt. Robert Ball, Nov. 12, 1973, and Firefighter Manny Gennace, Dec. 24, 1977.
While we were visiting the historic firehouse, KFD members were busily engaged in one of their regular clean-out days and were readying the staircase for that upcoming project. Harris and Capt. Harry Fearon made it a point to thank the businesses that have generously donated to the restoration work: Allied Building Products of Carlstadt, which has provided roofing materials; Viola Brothers of Nutley, spackle and trim; Continental Hardware of Newark; K-Mart of Kearny, paint; Building Specialties of Kearny, sheet rock; and J&L Atwell of Kearny, which installed those very special second-floor windows.
(If we have left anyone out, blame this correspondent and her faulty notes, not the KFD.)
To learn more about the history of the department, visit kearnyfire.com.
To donate materials or money (both of which are welcome and much appreciated) to the restoration effort, contact the department at the non-emergency number: 201-991-1402.

Drunken motorist plows into Nutley home

Photo by Ron Leir/ Fabre’s Buick outside the home on High St. in Nutley.


By Ron Leir

Nutley -
The occupants of a High St., Nutley home had a rude awakening early Wednesday, Nov. 16, when an out-of-control car smashed through their living room wall.
Police said George Fabre, 21, of Clifton, was driving drunk when his Buick struck the house, coming to rest inside the living room. The collision caused heavy structural damage to the dwelling and destroyed a sofa.
Fabre suffered minor injuries while his 22-year-old passenger wasn’t hurt, according to police.
Municipal Police, Fire and Building Services Department personnel were sent to the scene where they escorted occupants from the home.
The house will remain off limits until local building code officials deem it a safe structure.
Police impounded the car and issued Fabre summonses for DWI, reckless driving and being an uninsured motorist. He was released to a responsible adult pending court action.
Police said they are investigating where Fabre had been drinking prior to the accident.

Residents speak up: Bond’s future now in jeopardy


Photo by Ron Leir/ Displaying anti-bond petitions, from l, are: Councilman-at-large Michael Nicosia, Jeanne Lombardi, 2nd Ward Councilman Steve Rovell and Peter Zingari Jr.


By Ron Leir

Belleville –
It now appears all but certain that the campaign to block a $3.45 million capital bond ordinance previously adopted by a majority vote of the Township Council is a success.
Even the mayor is ready to throw in the towel.
As of last week, documents on file at the Township Clerk’s Office show that petitioners had collected the signatures of 1,850 Belleville residents opposed to the bond – nearly twice the 991 required by law to place the issue before the voters.
“And we still have more (signatures) coming,” asserted Dep. Mayor/Second Ward Councilman Steve Rovell, the mastermind of the petition drive.
It’s up to the Township Clerk to determine if the signatures are valid and whether those that are deemed legitimate are enough to get the matter on the ballot at some point.
Ultimately, Rovell – like his council ally Michael Nicosia – are hoping that instead of going to the expense of a public referendum, that they can persuade their fellow council members to reconsider their original vote and put the bond behind them – at least for now.
“I plan to keep talking to the council, to remind them we’ve sent a very clear message to control our spending,” Rovell said.
Rovell – and, clearly, many others like him – felt that several of the big ticket items that the bond would have funded – such as the new Silver Lake firehouse and the new Friendly House recreation center – were either not needed now or ill-planned.
Among the advocates for quashing the bond is Peter Zangari, president of the Belleville Board of Education, who says he participated in the campaign “in the role of (First Ward) resident, as someone who votes on a large (school) budget in town.”
“For me to ignore residents’ cries of not being able to afford a tax increase would be arrogant,” Zangari said. “Those in elective office should be cognizant of the struggles that families here are facing. Senior citizens were saying to me that, after they pay their tax bills, they’re left with $300 a month to live on.”
The township had estimated that it would have cost the owner of a home with an average assessment of $249,400 an extra $46 a year in taxes to pay off the proposed bond but Rovell and Nicosia said that residents were facing additional taxes for other debt incurred by the township.
For Nicosia, the plan to replace the 8-decade-old Silver Lake firehouse with a new one on land that NJ Transit would lease to the township just doesn’t make sense.
“We can renovate the existing firehouse for one-quarter of the cost of a new one,” he said.
Moreover, Nicosia said, the proposed new firehouse would be located away from the main road (Franklin St.), in the rear of a self-storage building, and the township would have to build an access road to the facility.
Rovell and Nicosia felt that the proposed new recreation center would be too small to accommodate programs for young and old residents. People would be turned away, they said.
The bond would also fund the purchase of a building across from Township Hall to store municipal archives; installation of a turf soccer field on School 9 property; and upgrading of the municipal senior center; and repaving of Garden Ave.
But all of this planning may be for naught if the bond is overturned.
When asked about the situation, Mayor Ray Kimble said that if the petitions pass muster, “I’ll put a resolution on the table to rescind the bond issue because the people spoke. If there’s something in that bond issue they don’t want, then why should I go against the people?”
Putting the matter to a public vote isn’t practical, Kimble said. “There’s no sense having an election,” he said. “It would cost $60,000 to $70,000.”

A WORD WITH THE PUBLISHER: Thanks for giving



By Lisa Pezzolla

Thanksgiving Day in America is a time for friends and family gatherings.
As we sit to enjoy our holiday feast we reminisce about our past holidays. It is a time to offer thanks, a time for holiday parades and giant balloons to brighten a child’s day.
It is a time to tell stories and laugh about all the good times for which we have to be thankful.
And it is a time to remember all the great moments we had with our departed loved ones.
On Nov. 18, I had to make the decision to put my “Molly” to sleep. Those of you who visit The Observer, know that she was my little shadow. Thirteen years ago I had rescued her; she was badly abused – it took years of love and attention to build her trust. She was a tough little thing. She had a limp from a broken leg, but always managed to follow me everywhere. She brought such joy to my life and others.
This past Friday, her fighting days came to an end; the look in her eyes told me something was terribly wrong. I took her to Arlington Dog and Cat hospital in Kearny and Marguerite M. Hoey, DVM, took time and patience. Molly was suffering from kidney failure. I made the decision.
I want to thank Dr. Hoey for all her love and tender care she gave Molly and me – her compassion was above and beyond. Her kind words and tears show the love she genuinely has for animals. I am thankful for all the unconditional love that I received from Molly. Rest in peace, my little one.

Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

Happy ending to church’s dilemma

By Ron Leir

Kearny –
On the surface, the job seemed simple enough.
The City of Hope Church International, a non-denominational Christian house of worship that occupies the old Sacred Heart orphanage facility, wanted to convert its heating system from oil to gas so it needed a connection to a gas line.
Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) was ready and willing to supply the connection by digging up a section of Wilson Ave. and installing the pipe.
But here’s where the complications entered.
The Town of Kearny, which has to issue a permit for a street excavation, has a law on the books which prohibits opening a street “into the driving lanes” for five years after it’s been paved over, unless there’s an emergency situation or unless it’s authorized by the mayor and Town Council.
And if there is a reopening permitted, either the utility or the customer must pay for a “curb-to-curb” repaving of the street.
The proposed street cut, to accommodate City of Hope Church, involves a section of Wilson Ave. that was last repaved two years ago, according to Town Administrator/Construction Code Official Michael J. Martello.
Given the restrictions of the town ordinance, it appeared that the church was stuck.
If the town governing body were to bend and allow the digging to go forward, PSE&G spokesman Deann Muzikar said that the utility, “provided an estimate to the customer for the gas service installation … (at) 22 Wilson Ave. … for open trench excavation, which is the guaranteed method for this type of project.”
However, Muzikar added, “The associated road restoration does not include milling and paving, which is preferred by Kearny.” And that method “could result in a potential cost to the customer …,” Muzikar said.
The utility would pay for labor, materials, traffic-control and road restoration,  Muzikar said. The church’s “non-fuel revenue credit” would cover those costs, Muzikar said.
City of Hope decided to go public at the last Kearny Town Council meeting with its hard luck story in hopes that municipal officials would come to its support since that expense would be something City of Hope would be “uncomfortable” with, said Marian D’Alessandro, a member of the church’s leadership group.
“As someone who’s lived here all my life, and as a property owner, I applaud the efforts of the town to keep our streets safe,” D’Alessandro said. “But we still need heat for our school and day care program which operate five days a week, as well as Sundays for worship services and Sunday School.”
D’Alessandro said the church has already invested $75,000 in the heating system changeover from oil to “a green and clean gas unit.” Now, all that’s needed to make it complete, she said, is the installation of a gas pipe from the street to the church property.
In the meantime, City of Hope has continued operating with the existing oil heating system.
As a conciliatory gesture to the church, Martello said the Town Council was conditioning approval of four road opening permits sought by PSE&G – for locations on Johnston Ave., Rutherford Pl. and Wilson Ave. (not the church site) to install gas service and on S. Hackensack Ave. to relocate a gas service – on the church “being appropriately serviced.”
The council did grant the utility permission to dig at Davis Ave. and Tappan St. to replace a 16-inch gas main to correct a leak there.
D’Alessandro said that the town’s action “has made the situation more palatable and we hope to get this resolved as soon as practically possible. … Between the church, the town and PSE&G, we hope to resolve this in a fair and just manner.”
And, in fact, that’s just what happened.
PSE&G and Kearny agreed on the use of a pneumatic piercing tool, “which requires only excavating one single hole in the roadway,” explained Muzikar. And, “the town is allowing PSE&G to restore the roadway using infrared paving technology, which keeps the cost … free of charge to the customer.”
The work was done this past weekend.
The Rev. David Manzo, the church’s senior pastor, thanked Martello and town officials for their cooperation.
Now grateful church workers are busying themselves with the preparation and distribution of more than 100 turkey baskets from their pantry to the needy for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Nutley high school girl dies suddenly

By Ron Leir

The November 17th passing of a Nutley high-school girl, 17, is under investigation. The cause of death hasn’t been released and members of the Nutley Police Dept., Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, and North Jersey Regional Medical Examiner’s Office are reviewing the case.
Police said that officers and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) were called to the Oakridge Ave. home at 11:00 p.m., Nov. 16 to aid an “unresponsive female.” There they attempted to revive the victim, identified as Danielle Orna, 17, but were unsuccessful. The young woman was transported to Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville where she was pronounced dead on the following morning.
Thus far, police have declined to disclose the cause of death, or whether an autopsy has been conducted, despite repeated attempts by The Observer to gather such information. Nutley School Board president James Kuchta had no comment.
An official police statement said: “Police and High School administrators have been working together in an effort to console and counsel family and friends.
“Police Chief John Holland and Police Director Alphonse Petracco extend condolences to Danielle’s family and friends and offered any assistance that they may need in this time of sorrow.”
At press time, Nutley High School’s website still carried the original statement issued on Thursday, Nov. 17:  “Tragically, one of our Nutley High School students passed away unexpectedly earlier this morning. All of our thoughts and sympathies are with the family. Counselors have been made available throughout the day to assist students throughout the district. We are acting as one community, supporting everyone through this difficult time. “
The school district listed a number of outside resources where students and staff can locate grief-counseling services. Nutley Schools Supt. Russell Lazovick said he met with members of the Orna family last Thursday morning. He said Danielle was a “very strong student, on the honor roll,” whose death came very hard to the high school where she was well liked. “ Everyone’s in a state of shock.” Lazovick added that the district is working with the family to arrange a memorial observance in Danielle’s honor at some point.

Lyndhurst blotter: Pursuing a lead pays off

Photo courtesy of Lyndhurst PD/ Orlando Valle

Follow-up investigative work helped lead to the arrest of an accused thief who, Lyndhurst police suspect, had been targeting older female shoppers as his prey.
On Nov. 10, at around 6 p.m., two women shopping at the ShopRite on New York Ave. reported to store security that someone had removed wallets from their pocketbooks while they were moving about the store.
Some of the contents from those wallets were later recovered in the store but one of the women told police she lost $120 in cash.
On Oct. 26, a similar theft was reported by another Shop-Rite patron who lost credit cards in the process. Soon after, police learned that someone had used one of those cards to make a purchase at a store in Clifton.
Fortunately, police said, that person was captured on the store’s surveillance camera videotape and they were able to extract an image of him from the tape. They subsequently shared this image with ShopRite security employees in case the man returned to the store.
Which, apparently, he did, police said.
At 3:40 p.m. on Nov. 12, ShopRite security personnel pounced on Orlando Valle, 52, of Rutherford, after Valle had allegedly taken the purse of an 88-year-old Belleville female shopper.
Valle was charged with theft and ordered held at the Bergen County Jail on $10,000 bail, no 10%, pending court action.
He will likely face theft charges from police in other towns where stolen cards were used, police said.
Police encourage shoppers to exercise caution when carrying their valuables.
In other criminal activity during the past week, police reported these items:

Nov. 15
2:22 a.m. — Police pulled over the driver of a 2010 Honda traveling east on Kingsland Ave. near Weart Ave. after being clocked doing 46 mph in a 25 mph zone.
Tara Bruce, 21, of Nutley, was issued summonses for speeding and DWI. Police impounded her Honda.

Nov. 13
11:35 p.m. — The owner of a 2010 Nissan reported the removal of several shopping bags containing $770 worth of clothing, electronics items and sunglasses from the Nissan while it was parked in the 700 block of Fifth St. There was no sign of forced entry, police said.
2:38 p.m. — The owners of a house in the 500 block of Chase Ave. told police that someone had pilfered two cast-iron patio chairs, valued at $100 apiece, from their property. Police said the homeowners had just returned from a 2-week absence and realized that the chairs were gone.

Nov. 11
Someone carted off sections of aluminum scrap metal, valued at $400, from the 200 block of Ridge Road. The theft was reported at 2:34 p.m. The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office sent its criminal investigations unit to check the scene.

If you have information on any of the events posted in this blotter please contact the
Lyndhurst Anonymous Tipline:

The Energy Within

It’s quite a quandary. A meal with excess salt is scarcely welcomed, and a meal with little to no salt added for flavoring is rarely appreciated. What is most talked about and remembered, however, is a meal that is cooked well with the correct combination of condiments.
We can make our lives better if we apply the same formula to our existence. We must learn to create a balance in our lives. We must live to the fullest, laugh whole-heartedly and forgive easily. This mantra not only helps us purify body and soul, but also enables us to understand ourselves better and to become better people.
In some countries around the world, such as India, it is believed that every human form is born with seven energy centers within them. As long as these energy centers are in balance with one another, one is destined to live a fulfilling and a joyous life. Conversely, it is believed that even a minor imbalance in any one will throw things out of whack; leading to elevated stress levels and ill-health. If left unchecked, this will ultimately result in a sorrowful life.
This explains why we sometimes encounter people who talk negatively, or wish ill upon others. Since they are unhappy and out of balance, they simply strike out at others.
It is important to rise above your situation and take control of the things that make you smile. If fortune doesn’t favor you, don’t give up! Find an alternative. Don’t let obstacles cloud your thinking. In such times, I highly recommend energizing your will power. When you do that, success will be within reach.
Your life is in your hands. Try carrying along the right intentions and you will see how different the air feels around you. Refresh yourself, enable your mind, body and soul to function in balance. Do what is right to rebuild from the scars of past betrayals. In this way, you will live a life that is truly worth living.


About the author…

Shweta Punjabi’s credits are as numerous as they are varied. In addition to her skills as a renowned Tarot Card reader, Punjabi has also prepared daily horoscopes for Mid-Day, DNA, and Yuva newspapers, and Seventeen India magazine. Punjabi has also functioned as a television host for Walt Disney Television, India.
Ms. Punjabi’s offerings will include horoscope and dream interpretation, principles of numerology and color therapy: in short just about anything and everything that currently carries an “alternative” tag.

Around Town

The date for the Fun Auction, held by Friends of the Belleville Public Library has been changed to Thursday, Dec. 8, at 1:00 p.m.
The event is free.  Laugh along with Library Director  and auctioneer Joan Taub, as you bid on the best restaurants and services in the area, while enjoying delicious desserts.  There is something for everyone and all profits go to the library.
Did your house sustain damage during Hurricane Irene? You can link to help from the library’s website at: www.bellepl.org.
Library cardholders who wish to download a wide selection of EBooks, are encouraged to visit the library’s website at  HYPERLINK “http://www.bellepl.org” www.bellepl.org.
If you’d like to learn how to surf the Internet and/or to set up an email account, call Librarian Karyn Gost at 973-450-3434.  Tutoring is for library cardholders only.
Need help with your resume and other career information? Call the circulation desk at the library, 973-450-3434, to reserve time with library staff member Angela Digoino. Library cardholders only.
The Essex County Passport Outreach is available every second Thursday of the month at the library.  Application and renewal of passports, notary public oaths, veterans’ peddler licenses and physician license filing services are available.
Volunteers from the New Jersey State Health Insurance Assistance Program are ready to help with any Medicare questions that you may have.  Call the library at 973-450-3434 for an appointment.
The library has added the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum at Pier 86 in New York City to its museum membership collection. Library members may make reservations for free passes at the library’s circulation desk. Tickets are also available for the American Museum of Natural History at a cost of $7 per person. Call the library at 973-450-3434 to make reservations.
Join the Friends of the Belleville Public Library and Information Center. Membership fees are as follows: Student $1; Individual $5; family $7; business $25; organization $25; Lifetime $50.  All proceeds from Friends programs benefit the library.

In celebration of Thanksgiving, the Bloomfield Public Library will be offering a “Food for Fines” amnesty from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2. Any patrons who return overdue books, CD’s, DVD’s, videocassettes or audio books during the amnesty period may clear their fines by bringing in one food item per overdue charge.  Food will be donated to the United Way for distribution to local food pantries. This amnesty applies only to current fines due on Bloomfield Public Library materials returned during the amnesty week.  Previously accrued fines and charges for items lost, damaged or borrowed from another library are not included.  For the safety of those who need this food, please do not bring in any spoiled, opened, or expired food or anything in a glass container.
The library will host a series of three classes on linear algebra on Tuesdays, Dec. 6, 13 and 20, at 6:00 p.m.  Registration is required. To register, call 973-566-6200, ext. 502. Anyone is welcome, including middle-school children, teens or adults who want to brush up on their linear algebra skills. A local volunteer, Carol Morgan-Brown, MSFE, will lead these classes. Morgan-Brown is an  NYU graduate, manager of Carol’s Green Chip Index and director of “The y=3x+2 Scholarship Fund.” To learn more about the fund, visit:  HYPERLINK “http://www.y3x2sf.org” \t “_blank” www.y3x2sf.org. She is currently a New York State Permanent Certified Secondary Mathematics Teacher, New York State Permanent Certified Business and Distributive Education Teacher, and New York State Provisional Certified Attendance Teacher.
The library’s book club will meet on Monday, Dec. 5, from 6:45 to 8:00 p.m. in the conference room to discuss “The End of the Affair” by Graham Greene. Set in war-torn London, this account of an adulterous affair and its aftermath     explores the boundless capacity of the human heart for love, hate, and the acceptance of God. For further information or to request help in locating a copy of the book club selection, please call the Reference Desk at 973-566-6200, ext 502.  Admission is free and all are welcome to attend.

East Newark
West Hudson Brave Women Fighting Breast Cancer meets on the last Friday of every month from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the East Newark Senior Center, 37 President St. The group will provide an atmosphere of warmth and comfort for patients and family. For more information, call Emma at 201-998-6828, Rosa at 201-246-7750, or Fatima at 973-485-4236, or email HYPERLINK “http://us.mc574.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=emidura2@yahoo.com”emidura2@yahoo.com. Together we will fight this disease.

Presbyterian Boys-Girls Club, 663 Kearny Ave., will host its annual Turkey Day dance on Friday, Nov. 25, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Prizes will be given to the best dancers. This event is recommended for grades 6-9. Executive Director Tom Fraser, Chairman Paul Viera, and Rich Wagner will supervise the dance.
The Scots American Club, Kearny, thanks two distinguished lifetime members, Claude Neilson and Jerry “Skeeter” Leahy for their long and dedicated service to the Scots Club at its 80th annual banquet on Saturday, Nov. 26, in the Fiesta Banquet Hall, Wood-Ridge. Reservations for tables are being accepted with payment of $75 per person.
The Scots American Club’s semi-annual blood drive is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 29, in the St Andrew’s Lounge at the club, 40 Patterson St., Kearny, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.
The Scots Club annual Kiddies Christmas party will be held on Sunday, Dec. 18, at 3:00 p.m. A sign-up list is posted at the bar. All members and their families are invited to receive a gift from Santa Claus.
The Cecilian Seniors has scheduled a trip to Mt. Airy Casino on Dec. 14.  Cost is $30. Bus leaves at 9:30 a.m. from the front of St. Cecilia’s Church. If interested, call Johnnie B. at 201-997-9552 between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.
Kearny Recreation Commission has planned a trip to Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular on Wednesday, Dec. 28, for a  1:00 p.m. performance. Tickets are $50 apiece, which includes mezzanine seating and transportation. The bus will leave Town Hall at 11:30 a.m. and return to Kearny by 4:00 p.m. Ticket sign-up is available to Kearny residents only (up to two tickets per household) beginning Monday, Nov. 28,  through Wednesday, Dec. 7, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Kearny Recreation office at Town Hall. Tickets are limited and will be issued on a lottery basis. The drawing will be held on Thursday, Dec. 8, at 4:10 p.m. Proof of Kearny residency is required. All winners will be notified by phone and/or mail. For further information, call the Kearny Recreation Department at 201-955-7983.

The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and Bergen County Audubon Society will have its first Sunday-of-the-month Nature Walk on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 10:00 a.m. This free two-hour program at DeKorte Park features a short talk and slide show on raptors and winter waterfowl of the Meadowlands by the NJMC’s Jim Wright, followed by a walk along Disposal Road. We’ll meet just inside the Meadowlands Environment Center in DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst. Check HYPERLINK “http://meadowblog.net/”meadowblog.net for last-minute updates and weather advisories. You will have to sign a standard liability release for 2011 if you haven’t already. For further information, contact Don Torino of the BCAS at: HYPERLINK “mailto:greatauk4@aol.com”greatauk4@aol.com or at 201-230-4983.

North Arlington
Queen of Peace Knights of Columbus Council #3428 will sponsor a blood drive at the Council Hall,194 River Road, N. Arlington, on Friday, Nov. 25, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

The Nutley Jaycees Senior Miss Scholarship program will be held on Saturday, Nov. 26, at 7:30 p.m. at Nutley High School. Representing the Nutley seniors are contestants: Alexandra Aiery, Jessi-lynn Minneci, Rikako Nishimura, Kieran Swanson, Monica Benitez, Amy Conte, Dahee Sung, Sara Centrulo and Lee-Ann Ellison. The contestants will be judged on fitness, poise and talent. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door.
The library’s Monday Night Book Club will meet to discuss “Housekeeping” by Marilynne Robinson on Monday, Dec. 5, at 7:00 p.m.  The group meets on the first Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. Newcomers are welcome.
Registration for the Township of Nutley’s 4th Annual Mayor’s Wellness Challenge is scheduled for Dec. 1 through Jan. 2.
Register online at HYPERLINK “http://www.nutleynj.org/”www.nutleynj.org or at the Mayor’s office,
149 Chestnut St., Nutley. Registration fee is $15. The challenge lasts 18-weeks. It starts on Jan. 9, 2012 and finishes on May 14th.
Santa’s Express Mailbox will be available from Friday, Santa’s Express Mailbox will be available from Friday, Nov. 25 to Tuesday, Dec. 20, at the Nutley Park Oval entrance on Chestnut St., Nutley. Remember to put your name, age and return address on your letter for a response from Santa.
The Township of Nutley’s Annual Holiday Lighting is set for Sunday, Dec. 4, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the John H. Walker Middle School and Nutley Park Oval.

Handling an inherited IRA

By Randy Neumann

Recently, one of my clients passed away. Her children, who are also clients, came into my office to take care of business. I told them that the rules of the game had changed, to their benefit. In the old days, before 2005 to be specific, (not really that long ago), a non-spouse (I’ll talk about spouses later) beneficiary of an IRA had three choices when dealing with an inherited IRA:
1) You could take the money and pay the tax in the year that the IRA owner died. Assuming that you did not need the money to buy groceries, this did not produce a good outcome. The proceeds were added to your regular income, and you had to pay tax on the inherited money at your highest marginal rate.
2) You could wait five years from the date of death and then withdraw the money. This outcome is better than the first because it allows you to enjoy five years of tax-deferred growth.
3) You could withdraw the money any time between the first and the fifth year and pay the tax at the time of withdrawal.
Then along came the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which was signed into law in 2006, and under the new rules, we have much better alternatives. However, to get these benefits, you have to know how to play the game.
First rule: You have to be named the beneficiary of the IRA. If there is no beneficiary form on file, heirs are at the mercy of the IRA custodians’ default policy. Some custodians award the IRA to a living spouse first and then to the deceased’s estate, while others send it directly to the estate. The lesson here is to make sure your IRAs have the proper beneficiaries designated, so they will not get the short end of the stick. To take it a step further, make sure you are named correctly on any IRA of which you are the beneficiary.
Second Rule: Handle the money properly. If this were your own IRA, you could take the money from one custodian and redeposit it with another custodian within the 60 day limit. You cannot do this with an inherited IRA. You can either leave it with the current custodian, and have them name “your” new inherited IRA, “John Smith, deceased, inherited IRA for the benefit of Mary Smith, beneficiary.” Or, you could have one custodian send it to another using a “trustee-to-trustee” transfer naming it as mentioned above.
Now, let’s talk about spouses. Spouses get a better deal than anyone else. They get to treat the inherited IRA as if it were their own. Therefore, they can rollover the IRA under their own name and postpone distributions until they are 70 years old. However, they are subject to the same 10 percent penalty if they withdraw money prior to age 59.
Non-spouses must begin Minimum Required Distributions (MRDs) by December 31 of the year following the original IRA owner’s death. MRDs are not a bad deal. If you are a female age 40, you have a life expectancy of about 80 years, so you can stretch your payments based on 40 years.
Let’s say that you inherited $300,000 and it earned 6 percent in an IRA that you properly rolled over into an inherited IRA as outlined above. If you are 40 years old, you must withdraw 1/40th from the account, which is $7,950 ($318,000/40). If the account continues to earn 6 percent, it will be worth $328,653 the following year. That year, you would be required to take out 1/39th, which is $8,427.
Do you see what is happening here? The account is growing in spite of the annual withdrawals. It is not until older ages that the withdrawals will become greater than the growth. You are preserving wealth for your family through the deferral of income taxes. Additionally, because you can name a beneficiary, the deferral continues when you die. However, please note, the beneficiary cannot use their age for life expectancy when they inherit the IRA, they must continue using yours.
In the trade, these are called S-T-R-E-T-C-H IRAs and you can see why. Additionally, the same rules apply to qualified accounts such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457 plans, et al. However, the same sticky wicket rules apply to rolling over these types of accounts, so be sure to get professional advice prior to completing the transaction.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for the individual. Randy Neumann CFP® is a registered representative with securities and insurance offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC. He can be reached at 12 Route 17N, Suite 115, Paramus, 201-291-9000.