web analytics

Category: News

Kearny Police Blotter

On Friday, March 16, Det. Mike Gonzalez was in Newark around 2:45 p.m. in an unrelated investigation and sees a carload of people known to him as longtime drug offenders in Kearny. During this time, he saw what appeared to be a drug transaction and saw the car travel back to Kearny. Once in Kearny, he attempted to stop the vehicle on Highland Ave. near Woodland Ave. Before the vehicle came to a stop, Gonzalez observed a lot of commotion coming from the vehicle with packages being thrown out the window of the vehicle. The car stopped on Rose St. between Highland and Alexander Ave. Gonzalez advised headquarters of what was going on and receives backup in the form of Sgt. Charles Smith and Officers Mike Andrews and Neil Nelson. The group begins to canvas the area on food and came up with three wax folds of suspected heroine labeled, “Dreke” and three hypodermic needles. The occupants of the vehicle were placed under arrest. A further search of the individuals found Xanex pills in the front pocket of one of the males and eight hypodermic needles in the handbag of one of the females. Two males and two females were arrested and taken to Headquarters.

While in the cell, officers observed one of the individuals discard something into the toilet of the cell. Gonzalez and Officer Paul Bershefski went into the cellblock and found a black plastic bag containing two more wax folds of heroine.

John Bradley, a 42-year-old Kearny resident, was charged with Possession of CDS, Possession of paraphernalia, and attempted destruction of evidence. His younger brother Stewart, a 33-year-old Kearny resident, and one of the females Christine Ketz, 41, from North Arlington, were charged with possession of CDS, possession of paraphernalia and trying to discard evidence. Mary Ackerson, a 27-year-old Kearny resident was charged with possession of paraphernalia and trying to discard evidence. Given his history, John Bradley was held for $10,000 bail.

Later that day around 6:30 p.m., Officer Neil Nelson was on patrol and observed a vehicle parked on Halstead St. in the area of Kearny Ave. and observed the occupant of the vehicle engage in what appeared to be a hand to hand transaction. Nelson saw the occupant reach into a bottle and pull out what he believes are packaged narcotics and then attempted to leave the area in the car. Nelson followed the vehicle from Halsted St. to Chestnut St. and stopped at Chestnut St. and Garfield Ave. Nelson detects a very powerful odor of marijuana and saw the plastic bottle that Nelson had seen during the transaction. Nelson took the operator from the vehicle and conducted a plain view search, which turned up 14 plastic bags of marijuana packaged for sale. Brian Restrepo, a 25-year-old Clifton resident was charged for possession of marijuana over 50 grams, manufacturing or distributing CDS, distributing near a school zone, possession of paraphernalia, and operating a motor vehicle in possession of a controlled substance.

Later that night, Officers Steve Hroncich and Paul Bershefski were on patrol when they observed a vehicle on the Bergen Ave. extension traveling at a high rate of speed westbound. The officers caught up to the vehicle and pulled it over at Schuyler and Bergen Aves. The driver exited the car in a very irate matter, ranging at the officers saying that he was doing nothing wrong. The man had a powerful smell of alcohol and appeared to be off balance. He was asked to perform balance tests, which he was unable to complete, at which point the man, 35-year-old Sergey Gaston, told the officers, “Lock me up, I’m drunk.” Gaston was then placed under arrest. A search of the vehicle found two small red cap vials of suspected cocaine and a bottle of Bacardi Limon. Gaston was charged with driving while intoxicated, possession of CDS, possession of paraphernalia, careless driving, driving while suspended, driving while in possession of CDS, and failing to surrender a suspended Driver’s License.

Early on the morning of March 17, Officers Derek Hemphill and Ben Wuelfing responded to Beech St. between Kearny and Oakwood Aves. on calls of obnoxious juveniles causing a disturbance. They responded to the scene and checked the area. In the hallway of a basement, they came upon several juveniles in the doorway of the building and can smell both marijuana and alcohol. The officers contain everyone in the area and inquire as to what is going on in the area. The officers then take three males into custody, two 17-year-old males and a 16-year-old male, all from Kearny. The juveniles were charged with underage possession of alcohol, possession of marijuana, and possession of paraphernalia and turned over to their parents.

On March 19 around 9 a.m., Kearny Police were advised by Garfield School of a written bomb threat within the school. Officers Cesar Negron confirmed that in fact there was a threatening note found at the scene and advised to respond help in a sweep of the area for suspicious packages. Sgt. Robert Maguire, Sgt. Rick Poplaski, and Cpt. Edward Rygiel responded to the school, which was evacuated as a precaution. A bomb dog was requested and Jersey City Officer Patterson responded with his K9 Rommel. Rommel swept the area with officers. Once it was confirmed with administration, the building was safe to return. The note left was recovered as evidence and the feeling was that it may have been written by a student. The Juvenile division under Maguire is following up the investigation.

On March 20 around 2:30 a.m., Officers Hemphill and Wuelfing were patrolling the north section of Kearny and came around someone crawled up in a ball laying on the ground. They approached the individual and wake him up, realizing he is in possession of a GPS that he cannot account for. The 21-year-old Belleville male was arrested and turned over to North Arlington after the GPS came back to a North Arlington resident.

In the afternoon of the same day, Officer Mike Andrews was on patrol in the area of Kearny and Pavonia Aves. when he saw a group leave the Kearny Federal Bank Lot and proceed through the fence down the railroad embankment. Knowing that narcotics violators often go there, Andrews advised Officer Nelson who joined him. When they came across the group, they detected an odor of marijuana and make a field inquiry as to what they are doing and what they have in their possession. One individual turns over a marijuana cigar and is placed under arrest. The other individuals submitted to  search, but were found not to possess anything. The 16-year-old male was taken to headquarters and charged with possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia and turned over to a parent.

On March 22nd before midnight, Officers Tim Castle and John Trevelino came upon an intoxicated individual at Kearny and Quincy Aves. who is quite agitated and animated. The officers attempt to calm him down and the man replies that the Kearny Police don’t do anything and that, “they allow people to act up on Kearny Ave.”

The officers note his characterization of them and ask him to cease and desist his behavior. He begins to throw up his hands and walk away. The officers offered him a ride home, to which the male responded with an explitive-laden response. Feeling that the man would not cease and desist, he was placed under arrest and taken to headquarters. The man, 23-year-old Pawel Zajac, continued to carry on while at headquarters, screaming at any officer that past by.

Celebrating Bloomfield’s history BLOOMFIELD CENTER:


Bloomfield Bicentennial Kickoff

By Jeff Bahr

Over 200 years ago, the large chunk of real estate now known as Bloomfield existed in relative anonymity as a part of the City of Newark. The vast tract of land, originally purchased in 1666 from the Yantecaw (a sub-tribe of the Lenni –Lanape Indians) and encompassing what would later spin-off into the neighboring towns of Belleville, Montclair, Woodside, Franklin (present-day Nutley), and Glen Ridge was quite rural in nature, but it certainly wouldn’t remain that way. English settlers from Connecticut would colonize the southern section, while Dutch settlers from New York’s Hudson River Valley would set up farms in the zone’s northernmost reaches.

Through the years the region would grow in leaps and bounds. This expansion was helped along by thriving industrial outposts that centered on three waterways: The Second River, Third River, and Toney’s Brook. Drawing perpetual energy from these liquid-enablers sawmills cut prodigious quantities of lumber and gristmills ground innumerable pounds of grain. As a result, progress across the region was steadfast and swift. Eventually, this industrial base would include paper mills, tanneries, factories; all of the necessary ingredients for a self-sustaining village.

In 1812, it was decided that this parcel should be separated from Newark and turned into a town. Planners mulled over an appropriate name. They eventually settled on Bloomfield, lifting the name from the Presbyterian Parish of Bloomfield (itself named for General Joseph Bloomfield) that existed at the former Old First Church (today’s Church on the Green) since its opening in 1797.

Two centuries later I’m sitting in the beautifully renovated Bloomfield High School auditorium, awaiting the kickoff of the township’s bicentennial celebrations. Bloomfield has seen oodles of history transpire from those days of yore, and a number of scheduled speakers were on tap to try to bring that flavor across to the audience.

Eloquent, heartwarming, folksy and fun were the warm recollections and rich stories of Bloomfield told to the audience by former citizen Rich Ruffalo. A motivational speaker, author and educator, Ruffalo’s unabashed love for the town was as obvious as the town’s much-celebrated Church on the Green. Introduced as a “Bloomfield boy done good” by the Hon. Janice Litterio (Chairperson of the Bloomfield Bicentennial Committee and acting master of ceremonies for the evening), Ruffalo, who is unsighted, was led to the lectern. He wasted no time in putting the crowd at ease before getting on with his tales. “You’re a beautiful-looking audience,” said Ruffalo to the throng, who took a few seconds to get the humor of the comment. Just as it registered and the audience began to chuckle, Ruffalo added the show-stopping, “I was a blind spear thrower” during my school days. Not surprisingly, uproarious laughter ensued and the audience was his.


Photos by Jeff Bahr/ Clockwise from top left: Joseph Cataldo as General Joseph Bloomfield. Mayor Raymond McCarthy. Members of Bloomfield High School’s Madrigal Singers


Ruffalo spoke of high times at Foley Field watching the Bengals Football Team squash the competition. He recalled poignant if bittersweet moments spent at Brookside School, the place where he learned reading, writing and arithmetic, which has since morphed into a nondescript condominium complex. He talked of scary and unsure moments listening to blaring airraid sirens during our nation’s Cold war period, but most of all he spoke of the people that he encountered while growing up; everyday types who helped to make Bloomfield the “great town that it is.”

“There’s a saying that all roads lead to Rome,” Ruffalo said to the crowd with emotion in his voice. “As far as I’m concerned, all roads lead to Bloomfield… (Even though I now live elsewhere) This is still my home. Good ol’ Bloomfield, U.S.A.”

Throughout the evening, others spoke in similar fashion about the town and its profound effect upon them. Mixed in with these trips down memory lane were performances by the Bloomfield Girl Scouts, who presented the flag and led the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Bloomfield Madrigal Singers who were in fantastic voice as they sang the “Star Spangled Banner” and “Bloomfield, U.S.A.”

A multimedia presentation showing Bloomfield in its many phases was cast on a large screen, as was a timeline cataloging Bloomfield’s upcoming Bicentennial events.

And then, seemingly from nowhere, it happened.

A town crier, dressed in early nineteenth-century garb, hurriedly ascended a platform on the auditorium’s north side to introduce the arrival of General Joseph Bloomfield (played by John Cataldo) who in turn commenced to read Bloomfield’s original town charter. This led to a reenactment of the 1812 Town Charter Signing by a group of “actors.” Who were these rather stoic looking thespians dressed in three-pointer hats, felt jackets, skin-tight leggings and squarebuckle shoes? None other than the illustrious Bloomfield Town Council comprised of Councilpersons Carlos Bernard, Elias N. Chalet, Peggy O’Boyle Dunigan, Bernard Hamilton, Nicholas Joanow, and Michael Venezia. And who was the fearless chief who led the brave group to the signing table? Fittingly, ‘twas the very same gentleman that presides over regular Town Council meetings. That’s right. Mayor Raymond McCarthy, like his compatriots, sacrificed his personal dignity in order to make sure that Bloomfield’s story was told. The selfless overture certainly wasn’t lost on New Jersey Assemblyman Rob Caputo who later quipped with a grin, “If I was on the town council dressed like that, I would resign!”

After the mock signing concluded, along with the mocking of said signing, McCarthy thanked all involved for helping to make the event a reality. “This is a great event for a great community” the mayor said with pride in his voice. “Our future is great; our past is magnificent; Happy Birthday Bloomfield!”

Nightmare for folks on Elm St.

Photos by Ron Leir/ Neighbors say drivers double-park around the blue awning, (l). impeding traffic flow. They say ambulances rarely use the bay (r.) reserved for them.


By Ron Leir


Living near a property whose primary function is to support a nursing home, you’d be inclined to think you had a good neighbor policy ensured.

Not so, apparently, for some residents of Elm Street whose homes border or stand across from the old West Hudson Hospital facility at Bergen Ave. and Elm St., now owned by Health Care Renewal, a private company based in South Amboy. Medical labs are also in the building.

At their March 13 meeting, Mayor Alberto Santos and the Town Council got an earful from neighbors airing their frustrations about double-parked traffic, blocked driveways and noise at latenight hours they say they’ve endured in recent years.

One of those residents, Alejandro Tammaro, has been documenting the problems by maintaining a pictorial chronicle of the offenses as they’ve occurred and he promptly displayed the evidence to The Observer when a reporter visited his home last week.

Tammaro pointed to a blue awning that stretches over an Elm St. entranceway to the nursing home on the east side of the block where he says much of the unwanted activity takes place.

This canopied site lies almost directly across from his home, which he recently accessorized with a wroughtiron railing and gate leading to his asphalt driveway.

Tammaro gripes that delivery vehicles and ambulances, alike, habitually double-park in the middle of the street, sometimes in front of his driveway at all hours and sometimes park for as long as 45 minutes.

“Sometimes there are two ambulances at a time, with a police car, behind them, blocking four or five cars,” Tammaro says.

But there’s no reason for them to do that, he says, since the health care facility has a clearly marked ambulance bay and loading dock, with yellow striping, closer to the Bergen Ave. intersection. He says he sees one vehicle, in particular, consistently parked in that yellow zone but that car is never ticketed, he claims.

Things are particularly bad during employees’ changes of shift, at around 7 a.m. and, again, at 11 p.m., he says.

“At 11 p.m. you have people coming out from the blue awning location like it’s a bar making lots of noise,” says Tammaro. “I have two kids, (ages) nine and 16, and my neighbors have small kids, all of them trying to sleep.”

Plus, he says, there’s the noise from the radios in the ambulances and police cars that residents have to contend with.

But even more irksome, Tammaro says, is having to deal, periodically, with seeing dead bodies being carried out from the blue awning access point and loaded onto ambulances.

“It’s not right for my children to be exposed to that,” he says.

First Ward Councilman Albino Cardoso, whose ward encompasses the west side of Elm Street, said he’s visited his constituent and agrees that there is “an ongoing situation” involving “illegal parking” in the ambulance zone.

Cardoso said that Town Administrator Michael Martello “sent an email to the (police) chief asking for more enforcement of our parking regulations.” Since then, Cardoso said, “I believe some tickets have been issued but the problem is not really solved.”

The problem that really impacts neighbors is “ambulances and delivery vans double parking, especially in front of driveways. Of course, we cannot have a policeman sitting there 24 hours a day – we just can’t afford that.”

Yes, he said, “with more enforcement (by patrol units), the message is going to pass through. But it didn’t pass through yet.”

A solution, however, may be in sight, according to Mayor Santos and Cardoso. The property owner has applied to the town Construction Dept. for permits to do interior work designed to create a same day surgery center, separate from the nursing care facility and other space in the building – and, significantly, that center would be accessed only through the blue awning location, they said.

To get to and from the nursing home, people would have to use a separate access point, probably via Bergen Ave., they said. If the Construction Dept. sanctions the work and if the work can be done to the specifications of the construction code, that “should go a long way to solving the residents’ problems,” Santos said.

Cardoso and Tammaro echoed that expectation.

With the same day surgery center in place, Cardoso said, “there’s not going to be ambulances bringing old, sick people back and forth through the blue awning site. They will have to use a different door so, hopefully, that’s not going to affect the neighbors.” As for Tammaro’s complaint about seeing cadavers being transported through the blue awning access point, Cardoso said he hasn’t seen that happen. “I have to take the resident’s word for that,” he said. “But if it’s true, that is completely not authorized by our ordinances. … They should bring the ambulance to the bay on the Forest St. side of the building to receive the bodies. The dead bodies shouldn’t be shown to anybody (in public).”

No jail time for woman accused in ID theft

By Jeff Bahr

Facing a charge of identity theft for her alleged role in creating a fake and highly defamatory Facebook profile, Dana Thornton, 41, of Belleville, was accepted into New Jersey’s Pre-Trial Intervention Program (PTI) on March 19.

The charge – which carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison – was quashed provisionally when Morristown Superior Court Judge David Ironson accepted Thornton into the program for a period of one year.

The case raised many questions about what is and what is not permissible in a society where electronic communications have now become the norm.

According to Morris County authorities, Thornton set up a Facebook page in such a way that it appeared to have been created by her former boyfriend – a Parsippany police detective. After creating the bogus site, she allegedly posted comments, purportedly from the detective himself, that said such defamatory things as, “I’m a sick piece of scum with a gun,” and “I’m an undercover narcotics detective that gets high every day.” The profile page also contained items about the detective “going to prostitutes” and suffering from a case of “Herpes.”

Under the rules prescribed by the program as well as those laid out by the court, Thornton will be required to meet with a probation officer regularly, successfully complete 50 hours of community service, and submit to a psychological evaluation. At that point, the outstanding charge would be dropped.

But the judge also explained that the PTI program isn’t a guarentee, and that the charge could be reinstated if the requirements aren’t met.

Thornton’s application for acceptance into the PTI program comes as something of a surprise given the fact that when it was initially offered to her, she rejected it out of hand claiming that she “didn’t do anything wrong.” However, after her attorney, Richie Roberts, withdrew from the case based on her rebuff of the program, Thornton’s new attorney, Vincent Sanzone, assisted her in applying for PTI.

Despite the fact that the PTI program offered Thornton a potential exit strategy for his client, Roberts was emphatic that the charge as drafted shouldn’t be applied to his client based upon his interpretation of the applicable statute. “The statute as it exists really is aimed at people who actually go into a store with a phony credit card, for instance, and use that number and assume that name while committing a crime,” said Roberts.

“When you’re talking about things that get put on the Internet you’re getting into free speech…. The legislative history of our statute makes no mention of electronic means. The statute doesn’t fit the crime, which we don’t even admit was a crime,” Roberts reasoned.

The court, however, declined to dismiss the complaint against Thornton but did agree to admit her into the PTI program on the condition that she comply with the program’s requirements.

Lyndhurst Little League dealing with major league issue

Photo courtesy EPA/ The EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are overseeing dredging the lower Passaic River at the Diamond Alkali Superfund site off Blanchard St. in Newark.


By Ron Leir


The township has placed off-limits – at least for now – its two Little League fields and Tball field, all in Riverside Park, after deeming them at risk to kids.

Mayor Richard DiLascio and Commissioner Tom DiMaggio, overseer of public parks and recreation, said the township had no choice but to suspend play on those fields, based on preliminary findings of toxins in the soil.

“We’re not going to open up (those fields),” DiMaggio said, unless and until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gives the township an all-clear.

“I’m not an expert,” DiMaggio said, adding that the township has been guided by the counsel of professionals to take the appropriate actions to safeguard the children who normally play on those fields.

DiLascio said that the fields are in a low-lying area on the banks of the Passaic River, which has been found to contain contaminants from industrial sources further up the river and spill from last fall’s Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee washed over the area, prompting a series of tests.

The testing, conducted by the township’s consulting environmental engineers, Remington Vernick & Arango, of Secaucus, “came back with elevated readings of BaP (benzopyrene).”

According to a fact sheet put out by the EPA, BaP “is a polycyclic hydrocarbon that is a by-product of incomplete combustion or burning of organic (carbon-containing) items, e.g., cigarettes, gasoline and wood.” It is “commonly found … in cigarette smoke, in grilled and broiled foods, and as a by-product of many industrial processes.”

The EPA says that BaP is chemically modified in the body of humans and animals “to form a number of metabolites that may elicit toxicity” and, which “can interfere with or alter DNA replication … and may be associated with an increased risk of several forms of cancer” for children.

Photo by Anthony J. Machcinski/ Lyndhurst’s Little League Field


“Children,” the EPA notes, “may also have greater exposure than adults to contaminated soil in areas where BaP-contaminated soil from industrial contamination may be present, because of behavior patterns, particularly hand-tomouth activity.”

DiLascio said that tests taken about a month ago have been sent to EPA and the township is awaiting the federal agency’s review of the data.

In the meantime, the mayor said, the township is directing its engineers to “do another set of tests” on soil samples extracted from a depth of six inches at the fields.

“Our other concern,” the mayor said, “is relieving any future overflows from the river.” The township is reviewing various strategies, including placement of a berm – barrier wall – to keep out the excess water.

For his part, DiMaggio is trying to keep cool about finding and scheduling alternate playing sites for T-ball and Little League games for the rapidly approaching season, which opens the second week of April.

Ever optimistic, DiMaggio added: “I’m not going to panic until we get clear information on the situation.” If the Riverside Park fields remain off limits, though, “it’s going to cause a little bit of a traffic jam,” he acknowledged. We can use Jefferson School for T-ball, possibly, but Little League’s going to be hurting the most.”

Lyndhurst Little League President Bob Laverty is also trying to stay calm amid a growing sense of uncertainty about playing space availability.

But the pressure is on, given that the opener for the league’s 16-game season is the Monday after Easter, with the traditional Opening Day Parade slated for April 14, and that, as of now, “we have no home (field),” Laverty says. Sadly, the township only recently installed new bleachers at the Riverside Park fields.

Matera Field off Page Ave. is an option, Laverty said, but the league will be competing for playing time with teams from Felician College and Queen of Peace High School. Another possibility, he said, is using the township’s Recreation Field complex on Valley Brook Ave. About 350 boys and girls are signed up to play Little League this year and T-ball registered about 125 children, according to Laverty.

“The most frustrating part for T-ball is that the township added two additional teams for this season,” he said. Whether those kids will be accommodated remains to be seen.

The township could end up backloading the schedule, DiLascio suggested.

Meanwhile, environmental activists like former Lyndhurst resident Ella Fillippone, executive director of the Passaic River Coalition, continue to push for the EPA to follow through on promises made to remove factory-produced contaminants from the river bottom.

“There are hot spots all along the shore in places like Kearny and North Arlington,” Fillippone said. “And the tide is spreading (the contaminants) every day; eventually, it will reach Newark Bay. … And when we get a storm like Hurricane Irene last year, it churns the stuff all along the river. The whole thing should be dredged and cleaned out. … It’s hard to know what’s taking the EPA so long.”

Asked whether Kearny had any reservations about the teens who crew along the river, Mayor Alberto Santos said he’s received no alerts from the EPA, or the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) or any other government agency advising against boating on the Passaic.

As The Observer’s production deadline neared, the EPA – at the paper’s request – released a March update on Lyndhurst recreational fields sampling results which appeared to indicate no justification for any remediation at the site.

An EPA statement said that while “relatively high concentrations of contaminants, including dioxins/furans, PCBs and mercury were detected (during 2011) in the tidal mud flats adjacent to Riverside County Park in Lyndhurst,” the agency followed up with further tests of surface soil from the park on Jan. 30 and 31, 2012, to determine whether public use areas in the park “were potentially impacted by sediment that migrated from the Passaic River during recent flooding events and (mixed with the soils).”

The EPA review “assessed the cancer risks and noncancer hazards associated with potential exposure to dioxins, PCBs and mercury” and concluded “that the measured concentrations of dioxins, PCBs and mercury are present in soil but are well below levels of concern.”

Therefore, the agency said, “EPA does not plan on further sampling of the recreational areas in the park and deems that park soil cleanup actions are not warranted in this instance.”

The EPA statement contains no mention of the BaP contaminant tracked by Lyndhurst’s consulting engineers.

Downtown businesses squeezed by college’s plan to expand its campus

Photos by Ron Leir/ Business owners Avnish Patel (above) and Greg Cancro (below) are playing the waiting game with their landlord, Bloomfield College.



By Ron Leir


After several years of studying and planning, it appears that Bloomfield College may be on the brink of moving forward with extending its innercity campus into the heart of the township’s Downtown retail area.

But not everybody is greeting this development with open arms.

On March 5, the mayor and Township Council voted to designate the college as the redeveloper of a narrow two-story commercial property at 37-59 Broad St., off Franklin St., which it purchased about three years ago.

According to the resolution, the college “intends to demolish the existing building improvements on the site and seek approvals to develop it with a mixeduse project consisting of ground floor retail along the Broad Street frontage, a ground floor parking area and offices along the Franklin Street frontage, and a five-story residence hall above the ground floor.”

Because the project site lies within the so-called “Phase II plan” of the Bloomfield Center Redevelopment District, development of the college property “is subject to all the requirements of the Redevelopment Law and the Phase II plan, including, but not limited to, the execution of a redevelopment agreement between the Township and Bloomfield College and site plan approval by the Township’s Planning Board.”

College spokeswoman Jill Alexander said the college currently has an agreement with Rutgers University and the University Center in Newark for the placement of international students and Korean teachers learning English in private homes and they are transported to and from classes in Bloomfield.

“We want to bring them back to the Bloomfield campus (to be housed in Bloomfield),” Alexander said.

And the college would like to accomplish that by constructing the proposed 124,000 square foot residence hall, she said. As for the retail ground floor space, Alexander said, the college is planning for “a little less than 8,000 square feet” to be set aside for retail use.

“The Bloomfield Center Alliance (BCA), the college and the township will collaborate to get merchants in that space,” Alexander said.

However, Stuart Koperweis, executive director of the BCA, an advocacy group for the Downtown business community, said last week that the college has yet to consult with the BCA on its plans for the proposed retail space. Those commercial tenants who remain at the Broad St. property continue to wonder whether the college will actually follow through on its plans.

Greg Cancro, manager of Traveler’s Village, Inc., a corporate travel management firm which has been a fixture at the property for four decades, said: “We’ve known of (the college’s) plans for close to five years. Are we happy about it? Of course not. We’d like them not to do it (tear down the building). We have extensive clientele who come from all over. We’re so established here, it would be a shame to lose this location.”

Like most of the other tenants, the travel firm pays its rent to the college on a “month-to-month” basis, Cancro said.

Over the past few years, as many as seven tenants have relocated rather than deal with the uncertainty of their situations. Windows in those spaces are filled with Bloomfield College promotional materials. Cancro said he’s more or less reconciled to the notion that, one day, his business will also have to leave.


Photos by Ron Leir/ Vacated retail space is covered with the college’s promotional materials.

But Avnish Patel, owner and operator of Gallagher Wine & Liquor, the biggest tenant with close to 5,000 square feet of space, is furious about his predicament.

“The college won’t be interested in renting space to a liquor store,” he said.

Patel, who has a yearly lease with the college, said he’s been scouting around for new locations but “we’re up against certain restrictions,” in terms of the territory where he can transfer his alcohol distribution license, available space and proximity to schools and houses of worship.

The liquor store has also been a longtime tenant – 40 years in the same spot – and Patel has been operating the last two decades. “We are the only liquor store in the center of town,” Patel said. “Now the township wants to take away central retail business and give it to a non-profit entity – that’s not right.”

“Why doesn’t the college use any of the ample space it has on its campus?” Patel wondered.

Other tenants still at the property include a deli, nail salon and offices occupied by a realtor and insurance agent.

Township tax records show that for 2011, Bloomfield levied a total of $71,200 in real estate taxes on the three Broad St. lots the property comprises. Much – if not all – of that revenue figures to be eliminated, once the college replaces the existing building with its presumably tax-exempt dormitory.

There is scuttlebutt that some or all of the proposed retail space could be filled by a college bookstore and/ or cafeteria, which could also be considered taxexempt.

When the college will be filing construction plans and site plan application with the Bloomfield Planning Board is anybody’s guess. Alexander didn’t know and Florham Park attorney Glenn Pantel, the college’s legal representative, couldn’t be reached.

Asked how the project would be financed, Alexander said the college would likely apply to a bank for a construction loan. “That’s all in the works,” she said.

“We’re hoping in the next two to three years to occupy (the new facility),” Alexander said.




By Lisa Pezzolla

Last week, we at The Observer began our fun in the sun, so to speak, with an article about places to visit without burning a hole in your wallets and enjoying a memorable day out. In weeks to come, we will continue to map trips to places such as Princeton, N.J. and Hyde Park, N.Y..

One of our readers, Alexander MacDonald of Harrison, took the time out to share his recent trip to New Hope. He was excited to have had visited this newfound gem. His letter is featured below.

In the coming weeks we would like to invite our readers to share other places for us to feature.

If you have photos of the places you suggest, it would be nice if you can send them in so we can post them online. We have so much beauty around us, so I say get out the road map, hit the road, and enjoy our wondrous region!

Bloomfield Police blotter

March 18

A 2004 truck and landscape trailer were broken into in the 200 block of Davey St. Five Red Pack leaf blowers and a snow bucket were taken.

A 2002 Chrysler with a New Jersey registration was broken into on Llewellyn Ave. An iPod and loose change were taken.

An attempted theft of a Ford with a New Jersey registration occurred in the 100 block of Morse Ave. A 2001 Kia, also with a New Jersey registration was tampered with in an attempted theft. Missing were a driver’s license and $40.

March 17

A motor vehicle accident involving a pedestrian occurred on Broad St. at Eaton Place at 10 p.m. The pedestrian – a 78-year-old male from North Arlington – suffered hand, head and leg injuries. He was transported to UMDNJ. The driver, a 60-year-old female from New York, was not injured.

There were no summonses issued. The accident is presently under investigation by the Traffic Division. March 16 A 2005 Chrysler with a New Jersey registration was broken into while it was parked in the 300 block of Watchung Ave. The vehicle’s registration and owner’s manual were taken. Timothy Harris-Williams of East Orange was arrested for theft.

March 15

A 1996 Nissan with a New Jersey registration was stolen while parked in the 100 block of Glenwood Ave.

Freddy Ortiz-Hidalgo of Belleville was arrested for D.W.I.

Peter Aviles of Bloomfield was arrested for simple assault.

Sari Kaplan of Cedar Grove was arrested for simple assault.

Paul Power of Newark was arrested for warrants.

William Timmons of East Orange was arrested for warrants.

Marc Fluerimond of West Orange was arrested for warrants.

March 14

A woman told police that she placed her iPhone on a store counter at the 300 block of Bloomfield Ave. as she was waiting to check out. She then left, forgetting to take the phone. When she returned the phone was gone.

Christian Chirino of West New York was arrested for contempt.

March 13

A man told police that 30 newspapers were taken from the front of his store on the 100 block of Glenwood Ave.

A storeowner on Carteret St. reported 27 newspapers missing from the front of his shop.

Around Town


As March marks Women’s History Month, Clara Maass Medical Center will host “Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment: A Health Fair for Women,” on Friday, March 30, from 9 a.m. to noon in the Belleville Founders Room at Clara Maass Medical Center, located at One Clara Maass Drive, Belleville.

Screenings and information will include: Body fat analysis, cholesterol screening, breast health information, diabetic foot screening, blood pressure screening, glucose screening, cardiac risk assessment questionnaires, stroke risk assessment and bruit screening, urinary tract/incontinence info, and information about nutrition and weight loss options.

There is no cost to attend this event. Please park in the parking deck. Women and men alike are invited to attend this health fair.

To register, please call 1-888-724-7123, prompt 4. Walk-ins are welcome!

Mark your calendars for International Night on April 4 at 7 p.m. at Belleville Middle School, 279 Washington Ave. The evening will feature a variety of dances, songs and foods from different cultures and countries. Middle school students will be dancing, singing, and bringing food from their culture.

Belleville Elks Lodge #1123 will have a blood drive on Saturday, April 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m at the lodge hall, 254 Washington Ave. All donors will receive a mini-physical. The entire process including donation and screen may take up to one hour. Donors must be at least 17-years-old and weigh at least 120 lbs. All donors are required to eat a least a light meal before donating and are required to have a signed form of identification and Social Security number. For more information regarding eligibility to donate, call the New Jersey Blood Center at 973-676-4700.


Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center, 240 Belleville Ave., Bloomfield, is presenting it’s sixth annual “A Taste of Bloomfield” on Sunday, April 15, from 4 to 6 p.m. Attendees will enjoy samples of signature dishes from many of Bloomfield’s restaurants. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. For more information and to purchase tickets, call 973-429-0960.

East Newark

West Hudson Brave Women Fighting Breast Cancer meets on the last Friday of every month from 7 to 9 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 201-246- 7750, Fatima 973-485-4236 or email emidura2@yahoo. com. Together we will fight this disease.


Harrison Public Library, in conjunction with Town of Harrison, will be offering a free resume review for its residents. Services offered will include working on resumes to make them better and more attractive to prospective employers and workshops on career guidance. Saptarshi Katwala, a Harrison resident, will be conducting these resume review sessions. These sessions will be offered twice per week, every Tuesday, from 6 to 7 p.m. and Saturday, from 10:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. The first session starts on Tuesday, April 3. For further information, please contact the Harrison Public Library at 973-483-2366.

Harrison Little League will host its second annual Mikey Derrico Little League tournament starting June 18. The fee is $250. Teams for ages 9 through 12 will be competing. For more information, contact the Community Center at 973-268-2469 or 973-268- 5859.

Harrison Recreation Little League Opening Day Parade will be held on Saturday, April 21 at 9 a.m. (assemble at 8:30 a.m.) All Little League, Minor League, Tee-Ball players and coaches will assemble at the soccer courts on Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. In the event of rain, please follow your schedule. Opening Day ceremonies will be held at the Little League Field. Any questions, contact the Center at 973-268-2469 or 973-268-5859.


The Kearny Public Library presents a Guitar Bob family concert, “Kids on the Move, a Jumping, Junior Jamboree,” from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. on Monday, April 9 in the lower level of the Main Library, 318 Kearny Ave. Bob Messano, Guitar Bob, is a prolific songwriter, performer and recording artist specializing in children’s music. Guitar Bob concerts and CDs feature interactive music activities that delight children and parents alike.

Admission is free. No registration needed, but space is limited. For more information, call 210-998- 2666 or visit www.kearnylibrary.org.

Cecilian Seniors announces a trip to Mt. Airy Casino trip on April 11. Cost is $30. Bus leaves at 9:30 a.m. from in front of St. Cecilia’s Church. Call Johnnie B. at 201-997-9552. A Wildwood trip for five days and four nights is also planned. If interested, call Johnnie B. for details 201-997-9552, after 6 to 9 p.m.

New Jersey Blood Services announces a blood drive is scheduled at Calvary Chapel of Kearny, 156 Oakwood Ave., on March 31 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.


Lyndhurst Public Library will present “Communicating and Healing with Angels,” hosted by the Lyndhurst Public Library on Wednesday, April 11, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., is an introduction to communicating and healing with angels, lead by Maria Ferrara Weinert of www.earthdream.biz. Space is limited. To register, please call Library Director Donna Romeo at 201-804-2478, ext. 7 or email romeo@bccls.org.

“Favorite Food and Libations of Past Presidential Families” will be held at the Lyndhurst Public Library on Saturday, April 14, from 11 a.m. to noon, presented by Food Historian Judith Krall-Russo. Learn how American Presidents entertained at State dinners and how they entertained friends and families. Space is limited. To register, please call Library Director Donna Romeo at 201- 804-2478,ext. 7 or email romeo@bccls.org.

The Woman’s Club of Lyndhurst will host “Spring Into Fashion” Sunday Brunch and Fashion Show fundraiser on Sunday, April 15, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Graycliff, 122 Moonachie Ave., Moonachie. There will also be a tricky tray with great prizes and a 50/50 raffle. A full brunch will be served. Tickets are $35. For tickets, please call Rosemary at 201-935-4836 or Marge at 201-694-5976. No tickets will be sold at the door.

Special April Fools Bird Walk with the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and the Bergen County Audubon Society, will be held at DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst on Sunday, April 1, from 10 a.m. – noon and will feature a new birding challenge: Birders can quietly make note of any decoys they see along the way – and ID them if possible. Winner may receive a prize. Check meadowblog. net for last-minute weather updates. You will have 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 at greatauk4@ aol.com or 201-230-4983.

The Lyndhurst Health Department will hold its bi-annual Women’s Health Clinic on Thursday, April 5, at 5:30 p.m. This free event, made possible through a partnership with Clara Maass Medical Center, includes education on breast self-examination and a pelvic exam. The clinic is open to all female Lyndhurst residents aged 18 years and over. Please call 201-804-2500 to make an appointment.

North Arlington

The American Legion Alexander Stover Post 37, 222 River Rd North Arlington will hold it’s monthly meeting on Monday April 2, at 8 p.m. All veterans are welcome. For more information call 201-214-8253.


The Township of Nutley is inviting residents to join Autism Speaks in celebrating World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 and Light It Up Blue to help shine a light on autism. Whether it’s your front porch or your local business, an office party or a banquet, the whole world is going blue to increase awareness about autism. Nutley Mayor Mauro G. Tucci has personally purchased 100 blue bulbs to distribute free to residents on a first come basis. Bulbs will be available at the Department of Parks and Recreation located at 44 Park Ave., Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Bulbs may also be purchased at local stores.

Nutley Department of Parks and Recreation announces its 7th annual Great Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt is scheduled for Thursday, April 5, beginning at dusk.

Nutley youngsters grades 2 through 6 are invited to bring their flashlights along to search for over 1,500 toy or candy filled eggs scattered throughout Reinheimer Park on Bloomfield Avenue across from the recreation Annex Building. Children are asked to meet by the playground equipment to begin the festivities.

A golden egg will be hidden and the lucky winner will receive a large chocolate filled basket. Parents are encouraged to stay with the children during this event.

A rain date has been set for Saturday, April 7. This event is open to Nutley residents only. For more information, please contact the Nutley Recreation Department at (973) 284-4966, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Nutley Public Library will have photography by Kathryn Marano until April 30.

Pajama Story Time for children of all ages is held at the library on Mondays at 7 p.m. . Registration is not required.

Patrons can play bridge at the library on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. Experienced and non-experienced players welcomed. No registration required.

Tuesday Evening Knitting Club will meet at the library on Tuesday, April 3, from 7 to 8:45 p.m. Come share your love of knitting and crocheting with both beginning and experienced knitters. Please bring your own supplies. This group meets the first Tuesday of every month.

Come meet Rick Mikula The Butterfly Guy at the library on Wednesday, April 4, at 11 a.m. Learn about and see some beautiful live butterflies. Registration is not required

Message for the Soul

Determination makes dreams come true

Have you ever felt that you have more potential within you and that you are capable of achieving a lot more than what you already have? Within you is the power to make all dreams come true; but that is only possible if you decide to work towards them. At this point, I am not talking about your skills, education or your experience, but what I am really talking about is your will power and what is really possible for you. Yes, some may argue that there exists some element of luck to being successful, but over the years I have learned that luck only favors those who are committed to their goal; so, in consideration of that premise, then are you still ready to take that plunge and make a decision that can change your life forever? Realistically you are; don’t let any doubts cause you to waver from your goals. Be an optimist and see how all things come together in an unexplainable way to help you reach your destination. When you make a decision and decide to stick with it in spite of the many hurdles you may face, the entire universe starts the process of making it happen for you. Determination is the magic word here. When doubt, hatred or fear start to creep up on you, you need to re-focus your energies on the outcome you have desired all along. When desire meets effort, results start taking shape. Hence by this principle, you can achieve most things. Don’t let your thoughts make you think that certain tasks may be impossible and not worth the time and energy you may put into it. Like any bird preparing for its first flight, you need to master courage, stretch your wings and push yourself off the cliff in order to fl y. Believe in yourself and your capabilities. Assertive thoughts attract assertive outcomes. Tell yourself that you can do it and see how roads open up before you and your angels come to guide you on your path. Pessimism has helped no one get far, so give yourself another chance, believe in the unknown powers each one of us is blessed with and watch yourself soar and take to the skies for that ultimate flight. It is possible but only you can make it happen!



Visit Shweta Punjabi at her website solutionsbyshweta.com for more information or email her at magictaara@yahoo.com