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Category: News

Johnston Ave. crash zone

Photo by Milagros Herrera/Man driving stolen Jeep jumped curb at Johnston Ave. and Devon St., abandoning his ride

By Karen Zautyk

Do you believe that things happen in threes? If so, you might want to avoid Johnston Ave. for a bit.
In the wee hours of Thursday, June 23 – 1:35 a.m., to be precise – a Belleville teenager, reportedly driving a stolen car, crashed the vehicle into a light pole and a wall at Johnston and Lincoln Aves., one block up from Passaic Ave., as he allegedly attempted to elude police.
In the wee hours of Friday, June 24 – 3:21 a.m., to be precise – the residents of 154 Johnston Ave., at the corner of Devon St., were rudely awakened when another stolen car crashed into their stoop, effectively demolishing it.
The first driver was apprehended. The second fled on foot,  but the Kearny PD is on the case.
In the first incident, East Newark Police Chief Kenneth Sheehan said, one of his officers stopped the driver of a 1998 Toyota Corolla for a seatbelt violation on Passaic Ave., but as the cop approached the vehicle, the driver took off, turning right onto Johnston. Where he promptly slammed into the pole and wall.

To read the full story, see this week’s issue of The Observer.

Around town

Game night for adults and young adults will begin on Wednesday, July 13, at 6 p.m., at the Bloomfield Public Library. There will be a variety of games available, including chess, checkers, Chinese checkers and Scrabble. Bring your own game and bring a friend!  Game night will be held Wednesdays at 6 p.m. for the summer (and beyond if interest continues). For more information, call 973-566-6200, ext. 502.
The B4L (Books for Life) Book Club is open to anyone with a passionate interest in reading. The next meeting is July 14 at the library at 1 p.m. The group is organized by teens from Bloomfield High School, but anyone can join. For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/groups/b4lbookclub.
On Friday, July 22, magician Mark Zacharia will visit the library’s Children’s Department. The first program, a magic show, is for children ages 4 and up and will run from 2 to 2:45 p.m. The second program will be a “Magic of the Mind” workshop, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., and will be limited to students age 10 and up. There is no charge for either program.
The next meeting of the BPL Book Club will be on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at 7 p.m. in the conference room.  The topic of discussion will be “Cat’s Cradle” by Kurt Vonnegut.  Interested patrons may call the reference desk at 973-566-6200, ext. 502 or email reference@bplnj.org for help in locating a copy of the book club selection.  To join the Book Club email notification list, please contact Linda Esler at lesler@bplnj.org.
The Essex County SummerMusic Series will present the Jumpers Orchestra and The Shirelles in concert Thursday, July 14, at 7:30 p.m. at Brookdale Park in Bloomfield.
Jumpers Orchestra is a big band that combines the musical styles of swing, jazz and rock. Recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Shirelles are universally credited as the originators of the Girl Group Sound that is beloved by the Baby Boomer generation and inspired a legion of female groups.
Bloomfield PBA Local #32 is hosting its 10th Annual Golf Tournament on Aug. 2 at the Crystal Springs Golf Course in Hardyston.  This event is open to the public, and registration begins at 7:30 a.m. The cost is $150 per person, which includes green fees, golf carts, continental breakfast, door prizes, lunch and refreshments as well as range balls. Contact Officer Joe Corio at 973-680-4116 or fax your requests to 973-680-4102. The local’s website is  www.bloomfieldpba32.com.

First Presbyterian Church, 663 Kearny Ave., has opened the “Heaven Cent Thrift Shop.” Hours are Wednesday and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The shop features good quality clothing for everyone in the family, household items, toys, books, CD’s. Donations of new or gently used clothing and small household items are welcome. Entrance is on Laurel Ave.
Calvary United Methodist Church, 342 Elm St., will host Vacation Bible School, from July 17 to 21, 6 to 8:30 p.m. On July 22, a special program will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. The program will include snacks, Bible stories, songs and crafts. Call Larie or Pat at 201-997-4375.
A “Draw Your Inner Lizard Bookmark” contest will be held at Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., from July 25 – 27, to go with the movie of the week, “Rango.” Children are invited to draw their inner lizards during those three days. Bookmark forms will be available in the main library’s children’s room. All contest entries must be returned no later than 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27. For more information, visit www.kearnylibrary.org or call 201-998-2666.

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 10-02 will present a boating safety course on Wednesday, July 20, and Thursday, July 21, from 6 to 10 p.m., at the Lyndhurst Masonic Club, 316 Riverside Ave. Cost is $70 per person. Upon passing the test, participants will be entitled to operate a jet ski in New Jersey waters. Those interested must attend both sessions. For more information and to pre-register, call 201-933-1330.
The N.J. Meadowlands Commission’s Hackensack River two-hour pontoon boat cruises will be offered at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 13, Tuesday, July 19, Thursday, July 21, and Friday, July 22; at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, July 16; and at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 20.  For ages 10 and up. Suggested donation: $15 per person.
Registration required: 201-460-4640 or  www.njmeadowlands.gov/environment/tours.html
On Friday, July 15, at 7 p.m., a program for special-needs children, adolescents and their parents will be presented by  Meadowlands Environment Center educator Laura Venner. In the lecture, “2012: A parent’s guide to addressing their children’s concerns,” Venner will highlight the most common questions she’s been asked about “the end of the world” and unravel the misconceptions and myths associated with 2012.  $20 per adult, 12 cents per child. Registration is limited and required. To register, go to http://www.rst2.edu/meadowlands/marshaccess/Observatory2.html and click on the link on the left side of the page, or call 201-460-4623.
A two-hour pontoon boat birding cruise on the Hackensack will sail Tuesday, July 19, at 10 a.m.
The guided trip has a suggested donation of $15 per person. Nature photographers are welcome, but you must be unobtrusive (no tripods). For ages 10 and up. Registration required; contact Gaby Bennett-Meany at 201-460-4640.
A free senior citizens’ program, “A Virtual Tour of Mayan Astronomy,” is set for 2 p.m., July 19, at the Environment Center in DeKorte Park.    Dr. Richard Russo will guide you through the vast mysteries in the cosmology of the pre-Columbian Maya. Seating limited; registration required.
To register call 201-460-8300, or to register online go to www.njmeadowlands.gov/ec,  click on “Community Programs” and select “register for a program.”
On Wednesday, July 20, at 8:30 a.m., the NJMC will offer a three-hour guided canoe tour of Mill Creek, Secaucus.  For ages 10 and up.
$15 per person. Registration required: 201-460-4640 or www.njmeadowlands.gov/environment/tours.html.

The Nutley Department of Parks & Recreation will present The Cameos oldies group in concert on Wednesday, July 13, at Memorial Park I (the Mud Hole) at 6:30 p.m. (Rain date July 27.) Bring your lawn chair or a blanket. Food items will be available for purchase.  For further information, contact the Recreation Department at (973) 284-4966, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Nutley Public Library’s Pen to Prose Writer’s Group will meet on Monday, July 18, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The group was formed to read works-in-progress, share accomplishments, critique works, give writing instruction and provide encouragement and inspiration to aspiring authors. The group is free and open to the public.
“Stretch Your Imagination” at the library with summer reading storytellers Carol Titus and Ken Galipeau on Tuesday, July 19, at 10:30 a.m. This program is open to all ages. No registration is required.
A program on book making, sponsored by the Friends of the Nutley Public Library, will be held on Saturday, July 23, at 1 p.m. This program is recommended for children in grades 3 to 6. Registration is required.
The World Habitats, a program for children in kindergarten to second grade, is scheduled at the library for Wednesday, July 27, at 11 a.m. Registration is required.
Wii Bowling for seniors is scheduled for Friday, July 29, at 2 p.m. at the library. Bowling shoes are not required. Please call, come in or email library@nutley.nj.org to register.
Ravenous Readers, a reading club for third and fourth graders, will meet at the library on Wednesday, Aug. 10, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. At each monthly meeting the group will discuss a book, cook or create food, and share refreshments. Copies of each selection will be available at the front desk. Next month’s book is to be decided.


Items for Around Town must be received by 3 p.m. Friday. Please send them to editorial@theobserver.com. We cannot  promise that everything submitted will appear.


Taxing the rich


By Randy Neumann

Tax the rich, feed the poor till there are no rich no more.  I’d love to change the world, but I don’t know what to do, so I’ll leave it up to you.
Lyrics from “I’d Love To Change The World”
Ten Years After

This song was sung by a blues/rock band from Nottingham, England, where Robin Hood allegedly stole from the rich to give to the poor.  They took their name because it was 10 years after what lead singer, Alvin Lee, considered the birth of rock ’n’ roll due to the great year that Elvis Presley had in 1956.  They played at Woodstock, and “I’d Love To Change The World” made it to the Top 40 chart here in the U.S.
On Oct. 14, 2008, candidate Barack Obama met Joe Wurzelbacher, a big, bald man with a goatee, a.k.a., Joe the plumber.  Joe said to Obama, “I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes $250,000 to $280,000 a year.  Your new tax plan is going to cost me more, isn’t it?”
Candidate Obama’s answer – which lasted five minutes 46 seconds – mentioned a 50% tax credit that will entitle the taxpayer to a tax cut for health care costs.  Taxes would go from 36% to 39%, which is what it was during Bill Clinton’s administration, along with many other things.  He ended with, “When you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”
In 2013, “wealthy” Americans will pay extra Medicare taxes.  Congress, President Obama and the IRS are putting a surcharge on the wealthy to help fund the health care reforms.
1.  Beginning in 2013, joint filers with adjusted gross incomes of $250,000 or greater and single filers with adjusted gross income (AGI) of $200,000 or greater will have to pay 0.9% extra in FICA taxes (that is, Social Security and Medicare taxes).  The employers of these taxpayers do not face an increase.
2.  Joint filers with modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) of $250,000 or more and single filers with MAGI of $200,000 or more will be docked with a 3.8% tax on investment income.  (Even estates and trusts will be subject to this new 3.8 percent levy.)
What might the dollar impact be?  The Tax Foundation thinks that the richest 1% of American families will pay an average of $52,000 more in federal taxes by 2016.
What are the chances of these tax hikes being repealed?  Think slim and none.  Basically, you’d have to repeal the health care reforms to make it happen.
How can you avoid the 3.8% tax on dividends, capital gains & interest?  It won’t be easy.  Real estate investors may luck out the most because federal law characterizes rental income as “active” rather than “passive.”  On the other hand, if you sell a home you’ve owned for decades and see a taxable gain above the home sale exclusion ($250,000 single/ $500,000 married), you’ll face the 3.8% tax.
Some forms of unearned income won’t be slapped with the tax.  IRA distributions and income distributions from 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) plans will be exempt.  The same goes for pension income and Social Security income.  Annuities that are part of a pension plan will be exempt.  Business income won’t be hit with the 3.8% tax either.  Veterans’ benefits, life insurance payouts and interest earned by municipal bonds will also be spared.
As a result of this tax, you might start to see subtle shifts in financial strategy.  You might see more muni bond purchases, more interest in life insurance and more installment sales.  As qualified Roth IRA distributions don’t boost AGI, you might be looking at another factor promoting Roth IRA conversions.  Also, everyone might think about taking some capital gains prior to 2013.  (Restrictions, penalties, and taxes may apply.  Unless certain criteria are met, Roth IRA owners must be 591/2 or older and have the IRA for five years before tax-free withdrawals are permitted.)
According to Wealth for the Common Good, the wealthiest Americans have paid less tax in recent decades.  A press release from the group notes that “America’s highest earners — the top 400 — have seen their share of income paid in federal income tax plummet from 51.2% in 1955 to 16.6% in 2007, the most recent year with top 400 statistics available.”
So, how can you reduce your taxes in 2013?  It is not too early to think about it.  You might want to meet with a financial planner to discuss this topic, or read up on your options.
World pollution, there’s no solution.  Institution, electrocution.  Just black and white, rich and poor.  Them and us, stop the war.
More lyrics from “I’d Love To Change The World”
Ten Years After

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.

She played her cards all wrong

By Karen Zautyk

A Kearny woman who used the hopes and dreams – and money – of immigrants to satisfy her taste for casino gambling, fur coats and designer clothes pleaded guilty last week  in Federal Court to wire fraud, money laundering and impersonating a government official.
The defendant, 55-year-old Rosa Blake, who also went by the names “Mafalda”  and “Rosa Vareiro,”  had “orchestrated a scheme to defraud dozens of immigrants out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by pretending she could help them become United States citizens,” said U.S. Attorney Paul A. Fishman.
Blake, reportedly a native of Portugal and a legal resident of the U.S., had been arrested at her Kearny home in December 2009 by special agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and of the Internal Revenue Service.
Although in reality a self-employed housekeeper, she had – from at least May 2004 until April 2009 – posed as a federal official who could help expedite approval of immigrants’ paperwork, including applications for permanent residency “green cards”  and employment authorization.
In exchange for her “services,” her victims would pay thousands in fees, either in cash or by wiring money to her in the Atlantic City area or via a bank account in Ilhavo, Portugal.

To read the full story, see this week’s issue of The Observer.




Town bleeds red & blue

By Ron Leir

This town won’t be letting go any of its public safety employees after all – thanks to 11th-hour concessions extracted from the police and firefighter unions.
But both the Police and Fire Departments will see their ranks thinned via demotions and attrition, and the town is going ahead with plans to take ambulance services out of the hands of the Fire Department.
Mayor Ray McDonough said the town and unions came to the agreement last Wednesday after many hours of negotiations.
Previously, Harrison had sent notices to 11 Fire Department employees and eight Police Department members that they would be laid off, effective July 1 – this,  to help close a budget gap of more than $1 million.
As outlined by Town Attorney Paul Zarbetski and Harrison’s labor counsel Robert Murray, here is the deal that has been struck:
In the long run, the Fire Department will take the harder hit. It is losing 12 of its 42 members through retirements, and none will be replaced.

Those leaving, as of July 1, are: Battalion Chiefs Thomas Rodgers, James Woods and Michael Greene; Capts. Anthony Cruz, John Carey, James Lawless (who was promoted nine months ago) and James Cappuccino; and Firefighters James Wolinger, Donald Donohue, James Dolaghan, Thomas Dougher and Thomas Murphy.

To read the full story, see this week’s issue of The Observer.

Firms to pay 15M for site cleanups

By Karen Zautyk

Back in the mid-20th century, Hudson County was a center for the production of chromium chemicals, with three of the nation’s six manufacturers of them located here – two in Jersey City and one, the Diamond Alkali Co., at 1015 Belleville Tpke., Kearny.
Diamond Alkali, later Diamond Shamrock, operated there from 1948 until 1976, producing the chromium used, as the state Department of  Environmental Protection explains, in “a variety of industrial applications including metal plating, the manufacture of stainless steel and the production of colored glass.”
But, as the DEP also notes, the chromium process produced something else: large quantities of waste, including “chromate ore processing residue, plus other contaminant byproducts.” One element of chromate ore waste, the agency says, was “a highly toxic heavy metal that has been linked to a variety of health problems.”
Additionally, as alleged in a lawsuit filed by the State of New Jersey in 2005, chromate ore processing waste “was sold to entrepreneurs who in turn sold it to construction companies for use as fill in sewer line installation and other projects,” and that toxic waste “has lingered at a variety of sites throughout Hudson County and, over time, has created serious environmental and public health concerns.”

To read the full story, see this week’s issue of The Observer.

‘Not in Nutley, you don’t!’

Photo courtesy Nutley PD /Roving checkpoints are part of anti-crime initiative

By Karen Zautyk

In recent months, Nutley has been plagued by a series of thefts from, and of, autos. Then came a bunch of break-ins to homes and businesses and an increase in narcotics activity. And last week brought two robberies at local gas stations and one street mugging.
Last week also brought a new sight to Nutley’s streets: police checkpoints. Roving checkpoints. The better to let the criminals know that the township is mad as hell and won’t take anymore.
Nutley has certainly not become a hotbed of criminal activity. But the idea is to keep it from turning into one, from losing its status as what officials call “one of the safest communities in the state.”
Thus, Police Commissioner Alphonse Petracco’s “Not in Nutley” campaign, devised along with Police Chief John Holland.
Nutley, Petracco said in a press release announcing the initiative, is intent on “sending a message to anyone thinking about committing a crime” in the township.
One of the campaign triggers (no pun intended) was, in the words of Det. Anthony Montanari, “the brandishing of handguns” in last week’s incidents. “When crimes rise to this level,” Montanari said, “there is a need to be proactive, and for the police to be more visible.”

To read the full story, see this week’s issue of The Observer.

Kearny dumps PVSC waste ‘tax’


By Ron Leir

The town has declared war on the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission.
By resolution, the Town Council declared that, effective May 16, Kearny was severing its participation in the PVSC connection fee incentive program.
Under the program, the local Building Department could not issue a permit unless and until a property owner paid a fee to the PVSC, which treats sewage generated by the town.
These payments included an “administrative” fee of $250 for the processing of a permit application plus an additional fee targeted to the type of structure involved.
As noted in the town resolution, back in 2009 Kearny sought a ruling from the state Department of Community Affairs “as to whether the payment of PVSC fees was required before a permit could be issued under the Uniform Construction Code.” The DCA concluded that those payments were not prescribed by the code and were “strictly a matter between the town and the PVSC.”
Therefore, the resolution said, because the program “imposes an unreasonable burden on the town’s construction office to interpret and enforce PVSC fee regulations, the applicability of which are not always clear, and, in turn, imposes burdens on residents and businesses,” Kearny would hereafter issue construction permits on its own “except for projects involving new construction that require a (sewage) treatment works approval.”

To read the full story, see this week’s issue of The Observer.




Vigilant cops foil car theft

By Karen Zautyk

A couple of sharp-eyed cops — and a cooperative dump truck — led to the recovery of a stolen vehicle, and the arrest of its driver, police reported.
The saga began just after midnight June 20, when Kearny Officers Tom Sumowski and Tom Pontrella received a report that a black Lexis had just been stolen from East Midland and Schuyler Aves. As they were en route to the scene, Police Chief John Dowie said, they saw the car heading south on Schuyler and tried to stop it.
Instead of cooperating, Dowie said, the driver continued down the avenue, turned onto the Bergen Ave. extension, then onto Harrison Ave. and Rt. 280 West — with the police in pursuit, patrol car lights and siren on and PA system sounding warnings.
Despite several tries by the officers to halt the Lexis, it continued on the highway for about four miles, Dowie said, until it attempted to turn off on Exit 13 in Newark. There, the driver found the exit ramp blocked by the dump truck and was forced to stop. He couldn’t back up either, since the police car was right behind him.

To read the full story, see this week’s issue of The Observer.

‘Running Scared’

By Lisa Pezzolla

Most recently in the news we have read of pets left in a vehicle and being stolen or sadly suffocating.
Last week, around 9:30 a.m. Thursday, if you were driving along Kearny Ave. past The Observer, you might have noticed some commotion arising from a beige pregnant dog running frantically up and down the sidewalk and into the street. A local fire engine stopped and firefighters got out to help catch this frightened dog.
Our salesman chased the dog for several blocks and, with his charm, coaxed her to him and held her in his arms until a police officer arrived.
During the summer months, we need to keep a close eye on our pets, since they can suffer from heat exhaustion as we do, so leaving your pet outside or in a vehicle can potentially expose them to severe danger. Animals get sunburned; dogs with a thick coat cannot be left in the sun.
So, as the summer progresses, take special care of your pet, don’t exercise the animal during the hottest time of the day and give it plenty of water.
If you find you can no longer care for your pet, please contact us at The Observer and we will post a special photo on our web site to help you try to find your pet a home.
Or, if you see a stray or lost animal in the street, we will try to help find its owner.