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Category: News

News from the Lyndhurst police blotter

Sept. 29
4:43 a.m. — Police responded to Stuyvesant and Wilson Aves. where two men and two women from out of town had gathered in preparation for a fight with other people. They were taken to police headquarters and issued summonses for disorderly conduct and for creating a disturbance after refusing to quiet down. At headquarters, while being processed, police said Matthew Schlosser, 18, of New Milford, allegedly assaulted Officer Eric Cerrito. He was subdued by several officers. Schlosser was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer and an additional count of disorderly conduct. He was released after posting $2,500 cash bail.

8:28 a.m. — Police went to SuperCuts on New York Ave. to check on the report of a burglary and theft reported by the manager. Police said someone entered the shop during the night and took an undetermined amount of cash from the register. Members of the Bergen County Sheriff’s BCI unit dusted for fingerprints. The incident remains under investigation, police said.

Oct. 1
2:30 a.m. — Police conducted a motor vehicle stop of a 2004 Acura operated by Lamartine Filsaime, 45, of Union, on Park Ave. near Rutherford Ave. and charged the driver with DWI, making an unsafe lane change, and driving an unregistered vehicle. Police said Filsaime was wanted for an outstanding warrant out of East Orange. After posting the amount owed, Filsaime was released to a family member. Police impounded the Acura.

1:54 a.m. — A 38-year-old Wayne woman reported the theft of a black cloth bag that she left on the back of a chair in Crystal’s Lounge at Kings Court on Riverside Ave. Police said the woman told them the bag contained a cellular phone valued at $485, her driver’s license, and personal papers.

Oct. 2
5:00 p.m.– Lia Gurevich, 31, of Rutherford was issued a summons for shoplifting at the ShopRite of Lyndhurst on New York Ave. Police maintain that Gurevich allegedly concealed $27 worth of miscellaneous items in a plastic bag and tried to walk out of the store without paying for the items.

9:15 a.m. — A Belleville owner of a 2011 Infinity parked in the Marriott parking lot on Polito Ave. reported that someone had tampered with the driver’s side door lock. Nothing was taken from the vehicle, police said.

If you have information on any of the events posted in this blotter please contact the
Lyndhurst Anonymous Tipline:  201-804-9346

Message for the soul


Some people are negative and see only the down side to every situation. They not only ruin their own lives by inviting in the bad, but they also suck good energy out of those around them. There is something cold and eerie about such people and the one gift you can give yourself is to stay away from such bad vibrations. You must strive to create an impenetrable wall around your thoughts and actions. It may seem difficult at first, but with practice anyone can do it.
Personally, I wake up each morning and pray to the light of the universe, the sun god, to bless me with its power, glory and warmth. I ask that it drive out the cobwebs of pain from my heart and to help renew my spirit to conquer the day. Letting go of false pretenses, half-hearted promises and broken relationships is the first step in this process.
Live for yourself and not as a by-product of others lives. Feel the energy and perform your best in every act. In India, we believe that every precious stone holds in itself a unique power that is absorbed by the one who wears it correctly – like my favorite Blue Sapphire ring. Its dark blue hues inspire and encourage me to let go of my insecurities and safeguard my intentions from the ill wishes of others. I believe it helps me excel at my work and achieve my targets on a daily basis.
Find your own good luck charm, something that is a constant reminder of who you are, and what you should be doing. Then, let go of the unnecessary and live a brand new life. Yours!

Shweta Punjabi is a motivational speaker who believes in alternative healing. You can visit her website www.solutionsbyshweta.com for more information.


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

It’s time for the second annual Belleville Rotary Club Chocolate Turkey Hunt on Saturday, Nov. 19, at 9:30 a.m. at the Clermont Field, Belleville School #8, 183 Union Ave. Join Rotary for this free event. It’s much like an Easter egg hunt, but you will be looking for as many chocolate turkeys as you can find. There will be music, prizes, free informational seminars and more as the Rotary Club of Belleville celebrates its 90th anniversary.

The #2326 Women’s Social Club of the Harrison/East Newark Elks will meet on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 8 p.m., at the Elks Lodge, 406 Harrison Ave., Harrison. Women, age 25 and over interested in becoming a member are invited to attend. A bus ride to Showboat Casino, Atlantic City, will be held on Sunday, Dec. 11. The bus will leave from the Elks Lodge at 10 a.m. For reservations, call Shirley at 973-483-6451.

Heaven Cent Thrift Shop at First Presbyterian Church, 663 Kearny Ave., Kearny, announces the opening of its special Christmas room. The shop also has a good stock of quality fall and winter clothing. Hours are Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Use upper Laurel Ave. door.
The Rotary Club of Kearny will have Richard Dwyer of PSE&G at its meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 12:15 p.m. to speak about PSE&G’s investments in the replacement and upgrade of electric transmission systems. Come join us to find out more about the grid that powers your businesses and homes and how PSE&G wants to make it better for the future. Kearny Rotary meets at La Fiamma Italian Restaurant Bar and Grill at 440 Harrison Ave., Harrison (Corner of 5th Street). Call President José Fernandez at 201-991-1040 to let him know you are coming or for additional information about Kearny Rotary.
The Allupons with Archis Emerge, Agency of Record, and The Rebates will perform at the Irish American Association, 95 Kearny Ave., Kearny, on Saturday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. Admission is $9,or $8 with a food donation of a non-perishable food item for a Foodbank of New Jersey food drive.
For more information, call 973-600-7799 or email brian2000@gmail.com.
A coat drive will be held on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny, in the lower church hall (enter through Washington Avenue). Donations of coats, sweaters and sweatshirts will be accepted. Items donated will be given to area shelters for men, women and children. Community members in need may stop by after 1 p.m. For more information, call 201-991-0670.
The Kearny Public Library Board of Trustees would like to invite all interested to come see the library’s new interactive toddler room at the branch library, 759 Kearny Ave., on Monday, Nov. 21, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.  A new preschool touch-screen early learning computer, and a new wall-mounted high definition television will be unveiled.  The library has also added several new collections including new board books, puzzles and puppets, as well as a new lendable DVD collection.  Light refreshments will be served.

Lyndhurst VFW Post 3549, 524 Valley Brook Ave., Lyndhurst, will have a Karaoke night on Friday, Nov. 18, starting at 7:30 p.m. The VFW hall is available for rentals for all occasions. For more information, call the post at 201-939-2080.
Lyndhurst Library’s book club will meet on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 6:30 p.m. to discuss “Kissing Christmas Goodbye” by M.C. Beaton.  Contact Diane Montefusco at 201-804-2478, ext. 2 for more information and to obtain a copy of the book. Space is limited and registration is necessary.
Meadowlands Environment Center, DeKorte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst, will host “The Sun, the Moon and the Stars,” jazz concert with Nikki Parrott and Rossano Sportiello on Sunday, Nov. 20, at 1 p.m. Admission is $5 ($4 for MEC members). Call 201-460-8300 or visit www.njmeadowlands.gov/ec for more information.

North Arlington
North Arlington Police Department will have its annual holiday toy drive. New, unwrapped toys may be dropped off at the police department from Nov. 27 to Dec. 11. Toys will be distributed to local families, hospitals and others in need.
On Wednesday Nov. 30, North Arlington Woman’s Club will host a Holiday Bazaar at the Knights of Columbus, 194 River Road, North Arlington, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.   There is still some room available for vendors!  Please email crobertson1104@aol.com or call 201-577-1088 for additional information.

Gail’s Angels Foundation and the Nutley Family Service bureau have both registered for Healthy Chef Direct’s (HCD) Charity Program. HCD delivers affordable, healthy gourmet meals directly to your doorstep. Highly trained chefs prepare meals that are well under 500 calories using only the finest ingredients and freshest products.  The meals are packaged in vacuum-sealed containers so they are always fresh, ready to heat, and easy to store. HCD donates a large percentage of its total sales to the organizations their customer’s request.  When customers enter the code of their favorite charity or nonprofit during checkout, the organizations receive HCD contributions.  The charity code for the Gail’s Angels Foundation is C03M001. NFSB is C03S002.  You can sign your charity up at www.healthychefdirect.com.
Nutley Public Library will host “Presley in Concert,” a music sampler of top billboard hits from the 50’s, 60’s & 70’s, on Saturday, Nov. 19, at 2 p.m.
Pen to Prose Writers’ Group will meet at the library on Monday, Nov. 21, 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.

Nutley Police recover proceeds from recent bank robbery

Michael Evans


By Jeff Bahr

In a follow-up report to the November 5 bank robbery at TD Bank, 277 Franklin Ave., Nutley, Police Detective Anthony Montanari told The Observer that police have recovered “almost all proceeds stolen” during the robbery. Describing the recovered proceeds only as “considerable,” Montanari refrained from any specifics as to the actual dollar amount. Suspect Michael Evans is being held on $275,000 bail at the Essex County Jail.
According to Montanari, Nutley Police were able to fast-track this case compliments of the added assistance received by “several cooperating authorities,” and the “quick thinking and actions of TD Bank employees.”
Highlighting these combined efforts, Police Director Alphonse Petracco explained how the investigation went off like clockwork.
“The cooperation, communication and quick responses from the Nutley Police Patrol Division, to the Detective Division, Communication Control Center down to Newark Police, Essex County Prosecutors Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigations could not have happened with any more precision than it did,” said Petracco.
Nutley police have now teamed up with Jersey City Police to determine if Evans was responsible for a similar TD Bank robbery that occurred in Jersey City on October 30, 2011.

Finding a fitting financial plan


What is a safe number to withdraw from your retirement portfolio?
That is an open-ended question.  Is it $1 million?  It might be, if your portfolio is worth many millions.  Or is it 8% annually?  That would be pretty aggressive unless your portfolio is steadily earning 12 percent.  Why do I say that?
Well, if your retirement portfolio is earning 12%, and we assume inflation is 3%, then it would be safe to withdraw 8% leaving a cushion of 1%.
But who is earning 12% on their portfolio over a sustainable period of time.  Not many people (or institutions) that I know.  So, what is a good number to withdraw from a retirement portfolio?  Drum roll…and the number is: 4%!
Where did that number come from?  Not from out of the blue, but from an academic study done at the Trinity College in San Antonio, Texas.  The study is well known and respected in the financial planning industry.  It was done in 1998 by three professors, Cooley, Hubbard & Walz.
According to a summary of their report on Wikipedia, “Four percent is a safe withdrawal rate rule-of-thumb.  The context is one of annual withdrawals from a retirement portfolio containing a mix of stocks and bonds.  The 4% refers to the portion of the portfolio withdrawn during the first year; it’s assumed that the portion withdrawn in subsequent years will increase with the CPI index to keep pace with the cost of living.
The withdrawals may exceed the income earned by the portfolio, and the total value of the portfolio may well shrink during periods when the stock market performs poorly.  It’s assumed that the portfolio needs to last 30 years.  The withdrawal regime is deemed to have failed if the portfolio is exhausted in less than thirty years and to have succeeded if there are unspent assets at the end of the period.”
The authors back tested a number of stock/bond mixes and withdrawal rates against market data compiled by Ibbotson Associates covering the period from 1925 to 1995.  They examined payout periods from 15 to 30 years, and withdrawals that stayed level or increased with inflation.  For level payouts, they stated that if history is any guide for the future, then withdrawal rates of 3% and 4% are extremely unlikely to exhaust any portfolio of stocks and bonds during any of the payout periods.  In those cases, portfolio success seems close to being assured.  For payouts increasing to keep pace with inflation, they stated that withdrawal rates of 3% to 4% continue to produce high portfolio success rates for stock-dominated portfolios.
There are dissenters from the “4 percent” rule.  One of them is economic heavyweight, William F. Sharpe, who won a Nobel Prize in Economics in 1990 for being one of the creators of Modern Portfolio Theory, which is heartily embraced by institutional investors.  Sharpe published an article in the Journal of Investment Management contending that “it is time to replace the 4 percent rule with approaches better grounded in fundamental economic analysis.”  Sharpe thinks that the “4 percent rule’s approach to spending and investing wastes a significant portion of a retiree’s savings and is thus prima facie inefficient.”  If a portfolio underperforms, he notes, you have a spending shortfall; and if it surpasses performance expectations, you end up with a “wasted surplus.”
So, in Sharpe’s view, by adhering to a 4 percent rule, you either risk living too large or short-changing yourself.  Therefore, it would be better to constantly fine-tune a withdrawal rate according to time horizon and market conditions.
Another dissenter is Peter Lynch, the storied manager of the Fidelity Magellan fund who achieved an average rate of return of 29.2 percent between 1977 and 1990.  In 1995, he wrote an article in Worth Magazine stating that, based on his professional experience and knowledge of the markets, a retirement portfolio with at least a 50% equity allocation would generally be able to sustain a 7% annual withdrawal rate.
To wind things up, I believe that rules of thumb depend on the size and type of the owner’s thumb, so the wise thing to do is to draw up a financial plan that fits you like a glove.

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.

Nutley Police Blotter: burglary wave

Police responded to several township burglaries this week and have implemented a series of operations adding to an already heightened police presence. Police Commissioner Alphonse Petracco would not elaborate on what measures are being taken.

November 5
9:00 a.m. — A Terrace Ave. resident reported his 2004 Black Infinity stolen from his driveway. The owner parked the vehicle at 10:00 p.m. the night before and awoke to find it missing. Police are investigating.
3:06 p.m. — Police responded to Yantacaw Park in response to a dispute between an umpire and a parent at a sporting event. When the police arrived, the incident had de-escalated.
8:42 p.m. — A Hope St. resident reported that the landlord had entered resident’s apartment on three separate occasions without making proper notification in advance. Police advised the tenant on how to proceed if needed.

November 6
1:25 a.m. — Police responded to a Harrison St. home in response to a father and son altercation. Police were able to restore the peace.
1:01 p.m. — Police took a report from a Park Dr. resident who reported a side view mirror had been stolen off the resident’s 2002 Kia Wagon. It appears the glass was carefully taken and the wires cleanly cut. Police are investigating.
2:57 p.m. — Police responded to a local gas station when an irate customer reported that the station was advertising one price, and the pump was charging more. The attendant claimed it was an oversight.
6:42 p.m. — Police and Fire responded to an Adams St. Apartment complex in response to a strong odor in the hall that activated the building’s alarm system. A short investigation found a resident barbequing on a small grill inside with a charcoal grill intended for outdoor use only. Nutley Code Enforcement was advised.

November 7
7:49 a.m. — the Washington Ave. VFW was burglarized over the evening hours. The perpetrator gained entry through a rear door, entered, and burglarized the establishment. Police Detectives were called to the scene and are actively investigating the crime.
9:00 a.m. — Police took a noise complaint report from a River Rd. resident, after a downstairs tenant allegedly banged on the ceiling in an effort to quiet the upstairs tenant. Both parties were advised of their rights to sign complaint.
11:26 a.m. — 31-year-old Michael Ritacco of Belleville was stopped for an invalid inspection sticker. The Police Officer determined that Ritacco was also wanted for an outstanding warrant out of Montclair. The vehicle was impounded and Ritacco arrested. He was issued summonses in Nutley and later turned over to Montclair Police.
2:01 p.m. — A Police Officer monitoring speed along Rt. 21 stopped a speeding motorist and found 19-year-old Daniel Defilippo of Belleville to be driving with a suspended license. An active warrant out of Kenilworth was also discovered. He was arrested, issued summonses and released after posting $500 bail.
6:18 p.m. — Police responded to Duncan Pl. to take a report from a woman who had invited a couple she met at a local bar back to her home. She later discovered that she was missing items from her purse, but couldn’t remember details about the couple. Police are investigating.
7:57 p.m. — A Manhattan Ct. resident reported that several juveniles placed a couch on his front lawn with cushions scattered about.
8:57 p.m. — Police responding to a suspicious vehicle call behind the Nutley Tennis Club. There, they discovered 18-year-old Peter Lemma of Nutley in the vehicle with alcohol. One of three juveniles on scene was charged with possession of marijuana. Lemma was charged with possession of alcohol under the legal age, issued a summons and released. The juveniles were turned over to their parents.

November 8
Police responded to a Franklin Ave. business in response to a “Smash and Grab” burglary; one of several that have been committed over the past few weeks. The front door of the establishment was shattered, and an undisclosed amount of proceeds taken. Police are investigating.
Related: Police urge business owners to remove or properly secure valuables when business is unattended. Also, Commissioner Alphonse Petracco urges business owners to make certain their surveillance and anti-theft devices are in good working order. He recommends that video surveillance systems be installed for deterring thieves as well as apprehending them. He added it provides law enforcement with a useful tool as well as key evidence if available.
9:17 a.m. — A Whitford Ave. resident reported that someone had thrown toilet paper all over her home.  They reported that a lawn light was broken in the process.
11:02 a.m. — Police took a report of theft from a Washington Ave. man who advised police that a check was missing from his check book and that he suspected a visitor of the crime. Charges are pending.
2:59 p.m.– A White Ave. resident called 911 when a meat solicitor came to his door. The resident then yelled at the solicitor and chased him from his home, allegedly with a baseball bat. Police were able to speak with the solicitor. He produced proper permits and was checked-out with negative results.

November 9
12:02 a.m. — Police responded to a Chestnut St. location in response to a parked vehicle with four flat tires. Police are investigating.
1:52 a.m. — Police stopped a motor vehicle for a violation and it was discovered that the driver, Anthony Vicaro, age 50, of Florida, carried an outstanding warrant out of Newark.  Mr. Vicaro was placed under arrest and transported to headquarters. Newark Police later released him on his own recognizance.
6:47 a.m. — A motor vehicle stop resulted in the arrest of Michael Crowley, age 21, of Newark, for an outstanding warrant out of Irvington.  He was transported to headquarters without incident where he satisfied the warrant.  He was released with two motor vehicle summonses.
3:30 p.m. — A homeowner living near Friedland Rd. reported that three antique chairs were taken from the residence shortly after they were cleaned.  Police are investigating.

November 10
12:37 p.m. — Police were called to a dispute in the vicinity of New St.  Upon arrival it was revealed that a landscaping vehicle had parked blocking the driveway of the homeowner.  The truck was moved. All parties involved were advised to have no future contact with each other.
3:12 p.m.– Police were called to Yantacaw County Park on a report of criminal mischief.  Upon arrival, the officer discovered over 15 plastic fence caps lying on the ground.  The caps were reinstalled without incident.
A Franklin Ave. delicatessen’s front door was shattered allowing the perpetrator to gain entry. A number of undisclosed items were stolen. Police also believe that this perpetrator may be responsible for the Passaic Ave. burglary of a Chinese Restaurant, and possibly a Verizon retailer on Franklin Ave.

November 11
12:18 a.m. — Police responded to a Centre St. establishment after two parties left without paying. Police were able to stop the couple. They claimed that they didn’t eat the food and didn’t have enough to cover the tab. Both were advised not to return. Management reserves the right to sign a complaint.
Police responded to a Bloomfield Ave. gas station where a determined thief dislodged a floor safe from its concrete base and carried it off. Police believe this may be the same person responsible for two other gas station burglaries that recently occurred on Centre St.
Police Director Alphonse Petracco, and Chief John Holland urge Township residents to be aware and report any suspicious incidents or actors to Police immediately. Anyone with information about any of the recent burglaries are asked to contact the Nutley Police Department at 973-284-4940.

BREAKING NEWS: Only two weeks left to register with FEMA for disaster assistance


New Jersey residents whose homes and properties sustained damage in Hurricane Irene have only two weeks left to register for assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The deadline is Nov. 30.

Even if an insurance settlement has not been determined, individuals must register before the Nov. 30 deadline or face losing the opportunity to be considered for federal assistance. Though FEMA will not duplicate insurance benefits, expenses not covered by insurance may be eligible for federal grants after the claim has been paid.

The deadline to submit loan applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is also Nov. 30. Completing and returning the SBA application is an essential step in the process.  If you are a homeowner or renter and SBA determines you cannot afford a loan, you may be referred for other possible assistance. Additional information is available at www.sba.gov or 800-659-2955.

To register or to contact FEMA: Go to www.disasterassistance.gov, m.fema.gov or call FEMA toll-free, 800-621-3362 (FEMA).  Those with access or functional needs and who use a TTY may call 800-462-7585 or use 711 or Video Relay Service to call 800-621-3362. Telephone lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET; multilingual operators are available.

Applicants are reminded to keep their FEMA information updated, but not to register more than once. Duplicate registrations will delay processing an application.


Honoring Our Fallen Heroes

Photo by Lisa Pezzolla

Arrest in Bank Robbery

Michael Evans



By Ron Leir

At Nutley High School on Saturday, the Maroon Raiders were banging heads with the Irvington team on the gridiron but just across the street, another kind of activity was happening that had plenty of potential for violence.
At 12:05 p.m., Nutley Police responded to a silent alarm at the TD Bank on Franklin Ave., between Church and William Sts., and learned that a man had just robbed the bank and fled the scene.
Based on interviews with the several employees and at least one customer inside at the time, police determined that the robber drove into the bank parking lot, walked inside, grabbed a withdrawal slip and wrote on it, “Give me all your money.”
The man, who made no effort to conceal his face, then walked to a teller window and placed the slip under the glass window for the teller to read and then told her not to panic, police said.
“When the teller read the note, she gasped for air,” said Det. Anthony Montanari, the lead investigator in the case. “So the man again told her not to panic.”
At the same time, Montanari said, the man reached down to his pants, as if to suggest that he had a weapon.
The teller then gave the robber an undisclosed amount of cash and he left the bank, driving away in a beige Honda, after which, the teller activated a silent alarm, bringing police to the scene.
No weapon was shown during the incident, Montanari said.
“With the cooperation of witnesses, and with surveillance video, we were able to ascertain the make, model and registration of the vehicle,” Montanari said.
Assisted by Newark Police, Essex County Prosecutor’s investigators and federal agents, Nutley police officers and detectives located a 1995 beige Honda, believed to be the vehicle used by the robber, on Alexander St. in Newark.
Newark PD impounded the Honda.
A short time later, police arrested the suspect, Michael Evans, 49, hiding in a nearby rear yard. Police said Evans had cash stuffed in plastic bags and other items reportedly linking Evans to the robbery.
Montanari declined to say how much money was in Evans’ possession, nor would be identify the items found on the suspect.
“At the time of his arrest, Evans was dressed in a shirt very similar to the one seen in the (surveillance) video,” Montanari said.
The Honda has been transferred to the Nutley PD crime scene laboratory and police are seeking a search warrant to check the vehicle for possible evidence, Montanari said.
“No weapon has been recovered as of yet,” he added.
After complaining of chest pains, Evans was taken to Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville, for observation and was later released to Nutley PD.
Evans’ capture was achieved within an hour of the robbery, according to Montanari.
Evans has been charged with robbery and theft, second degree crimes that are indictable. He is being held at the Essex County Jail on $275,000 bail.
Montanari described Evans as “a family man, self-employed owner/operator driver, who had financial difficulties and acted in desperation. He was very remorseful about how he had frightened the teller.”
Nutley Police Det. Sgt. Pete LoCurto, Det. Robert McDermott and Patrol Sgt. Pete Teine all played key roles in the investigation, Montanari said.
Nutley Police Chief John Holland said that police are trying to recover all the stolen proceeds from the robbery. He said he was thankful that none of the bank’s employees, customers or police were hurt as a result of a crime “that could have gone terribly wrong.”
And Nutley Police Commissioner Alphonse Petracco commended the department’s officers and community members for their actions and thanked Newark PD, FBI and Essex County Prosecutor’s Office for their help.

Storm’s Impact Still Lingers

By Chris Neidenberg

It wasn’t a trick and certainly no treat for many Belleville residents living on Branch Brook Dr. and Carpenter St., who were stuck without power for several days after the recent pre-Halloween snowstorm.
The township reported that many dwellings were still left powerless from the freak and blistering storm, which downed countless trees and power lines throughout North Jersey.
According to a spokesperson for Emergency Management Coordinator and police Capt. Victor Mesce, residents with  addresses in the lower address numbers  on Carpenter St. were still shut down through early Friday afternoon. She added that some Branch Brook Dr. residents had no current through part of Thursday.
“The power lost on Carpenter St. included some apartments,” said the spokesperson who had conferred with Mesce and requested anonymity.  “PSE&G has told us those properties would be restored by today.”
The spokesperson said that Thursday’s lingering Branch Brook Dr. outage primarily affected Audubon Pl. apartment complex tenants.
“My understanding is that everything (in the complex) is restored now,  Audubon’s property manager told The Observer on Friday.”
The storm formed quickly and caught states along the eastern seaboard, from North Carolina northward, off-guard as it churned up severe wind gusts and blankets of snow more commonly seen in these parts in January and February.
For the New York City area, it was the earliest major snowstorm on record since the Civil War.
PSE&G reported that at least 560,000 Garden State customers lost power from the storm, and an estimated 70 percent of them had electricity back up by Halloween morning. The utility was helped by a group of 91 local independent contractor crews, along with 60 crews from power companies in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.
The two Belleville areas comprised a portion of the remaining group that experienced prolonged outages, due to various complicating factors.
About 8,000 customers were still without power in parts of Bergen and Essex counties,  utility spokeswoman Rene Esposito said Friday afternoon,  though she couldn’t provide The Observer a breakdown by municipality.
There were virtually no power outages remaining in Hudson County, she added.
Esposito claimed the utility met Gov. Chris Christie›s target to restore 99 percent  of lost power by Friday, leaving the Carpenter properties in the remaining – and unlucky – one percent.
We were able to reach officials in East Newark, Harrison and Lyndhurst on Friday, East Newark Police Chief Kenneth Sheehan said.  Absolutely no problems  were lingering in his small borough from the storm.
“We didn›t have any prolonged power outages,”  Lyndhurst Deputy Chief John Valente said.  “Everything was back up and running pretty quickly. DPW crews are still removing trees, and tree branches, lost from the storm.”
A spokesperson consulting with Harrison Town Clerk Paul Zarbetski added,  “Just a lot of branches and tree limbs still to pick up.”
Belleville, and many other area municipalities were also still coping with brush removal, as trees, limbs, and branches were strewn on properties – or awaiting disposal at the curb – six days after the storm’s fury.
At the sprawling Audubon complex – a mass of numerous two-bedroom units surrounded by green space – a female tenant explained she and some others were lucky to maintain full power throughout the crisis.
“Across the way from me on Branch Brook Dr., there were people who indeed lost electricity for days,”  the tenant said, requesting anonymity.
“It literally depended on what row your unit was in,”  she explained.  “And you can see parking lots virtually empty throughout the outage, a sign many tenants made temporary alternate living arrangements.”
The resident said that she personally knew a woman who had moved with her children into her mother’s house, to ride out the blackout.
She said that she felt fortunate to face  only minor inconveniences.
“Because my boiler was in part of the complex which lost power for days, I had no heat or hot water,” she pointed out. “I couldn’t wash my hair or take showers. I didn’t have any heat, but that was OK because I don’t like the heat.”
In addition, the woman said that she lost Comcast cable service and her landline phone due to the cable giant’s own problems with the storm tracing to a remote transmission source. This forced her to temporarily rely only on a cell phone, and watch broadcast channels for an extended period.
The tenant noted that she had heard some people without current expressing annoyance with PSE&G because the utility allegedly kept telling them they’d get power back by a certain date – only to encounter more delays.
It would have made more sense if the utility had provided a general time frame — say, by the end of the week — for when power would be restored, the woman said.
The tenant speculated that the major delays affecting Audubon stemmed from a heavy volume of downed wires, eclipsed by weakened snow-covered limbs falling from older trees scattered throughout the complex.
“I had felt the town and apartment management should have chopped many of these dying trees down well before the storm hit,” she insisted.
Esposito explained that while high winds were one factor, much of the downed wires resulted from branches weakened by significant volumes of snow,  combined with the added weight of leaves.
She noted that many properties falling within the remaining 30 percent of buildings encountering extended delays were serviced by a large number of individual power lines.
Ralph LaRossa, PSE&G president and chief operating officer, explained in a statement: “While we work to restore power to the greatest number of customers first, we still have a large number of individual service lines that go from the pole to customers› homes and businesses that are damaged as a result of falling tree limbs. The volume of these individual service lines presents a challenge to full restoration.”
Thus, Larossa says, “the utility prioritizes restoration by first addressing businesses and residences whose circuits service larger populations, along with institutional customers  providing urgently needed public services. Included in the latter group are police and fire stations, hospitals, schools, sewage-treatment facilities and TV, radio, and phone transmission outlets.”
We could not reach officials in Bloomfield, Kearny, North Arlington or Nutley by deadline. Kearny municipal civilian offices, excluding police, were closed Friday by a furlough day and a police spokesman could not be reached. Messages left with Nutley Deputy Fire Chief Paul Cafone, North Arlington Borough Administrator Terence Wall and Police Chief Louis Ghione were not returned. Bloomfield Township Administrator Yoshi Manale was unavailable for comment.