web analytics

Category: News

Vet returns home


Photo courtesy Auri Retana/ From l.: Abrianna Rose, Carlos A. Pinto, Celina Pinto, Carlos M. Pinto and Auri Retana.


By Jeff Bahr

 EAST NEWARK - There is perhaps no day as special as that blessed day when a soldier finally returns from war. Just ask the family of Navy Petty Officer First- Class Carlos Pinto, 28, an East Newark resident who recently returned to his loving brood after various tours of duty, including stints in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan.

When Auri Retana contacted The Observer only a few days before her brother’s Jan. 16 return from Afghanistan, she sounded upbeat. Like any concerned and loving sister she was thrilled that her sibling would soon be back, safe and sound with his family.

Auri told me of the many sleepless nights that her mother Celina and father Carlos Sr. spent while their son was serving in faraway and dangerous parts of the world. “It was a nervewracking experience for my parents,” said Auri, whose ebullient tone suggested that the lead weight of worry had finally been lifted from her family’s shoulders.

It’s been a long time in coming. Pinto, who graduated from Harrison High School in 2001, signed on with the Navy just a short time before the occurrence of the 9/11 attacks. After Congress authorized military action in Iraq, Pinto found himself in the thick of things serving aboard the U.S.S. Cowpens, a Ticonderogaclass missile carrier. The vessel, based out of Japan, became the first U.S. Navy ship to fire a missile salvo in the opening stages of the war when it launched 37 Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Later in Pinto’s career, he saw his rank rise to E6 Petty Officer First-Class. His most recent deployment was a six-month tour in Afghanistan as a member of the joint U.S. Army/Navy Task Force Paladin where he functioned as a member of the Joint Command Supporting Staff E.O.D. (explosive ordinance demolitions).

Through all of this, Pinto’s five-year-old daughter, Abrianna, and his girlfriend, Emily, patiently waited for that special day when the family would be reunited. Their prayers were finally answered on Monday, Jan. 16 when Pinto returned to them.

When asked his personal feelings about returning home, Pinto, still stationed in Afghanistan, sounded relieved more than anything – not at all surprising given the stress associated with such perilous duty. “I’m just happy to be coming back,” said Pinto with a hearty chuckle.

He then offered up his thanks to his family for their “continued support” as well as the many others who stood by him along the way. “I’d like to thank everyone for all of their support,” said Pinto, “especially Ms. Shirley Becker (a Newark resident) who has sent countless care packages to myself and my military buddies.” Their “care and concern” was truly appreciated, added Pinto.




Another supermarket folding

Photo by Anthony J. Machcinski/ Store will be closing in March.


By Ron Leir

KEARNY — Kearny is losing a supermarket.

The Pathmark store, located next to Marshalls on the west side of Passaic Ave. near Bergen Ave., will be closing in early March, according to an official notice sent to employees.

That leaves ShopRite as the lone remaining supermarket on the west side of town and A&J Seabra on Schuyler Ave. on the east.

Kearny’s Pathmark is one of 14 stores owned by the parent company, A&P, spread among four states that will be shuttered as part of an economic restructuring of the company.

A&P stores in Garfield and Bayonne are among the casualties. Others are: Pathmarks in Manahawkin and Egg Harbor, in East Islip and Mt. Vernon, N.Y, and in Upper Moreland, Pa.; an A&P in Danbury, Conn.; and five Waldbaums in West Babylon, Rockville Centre, Lake Ronkonkoma, Huntington Station and Commack, N.Y.

In October 2010, the Pathmark in Belleville shut its doors and the property owner continues to search for a replacement retail tenant for that Washington Ave. space.

Management representatives at the Kearny Pathmark deferred comment to A&P corporate headquarters in Montvale which issued a press release Jan. 9 saying that A&P “… has filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York seeking approval to close 14 stores in (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut) as the Company prepares to emerge from Chapter 11. The store closures are expected to be completed in the Company’s fiscal first quarter, subject to court approval.”

A&P President/CEO Sam Martin characterized the 14 stores as “underperforming locations.”

“While this was a very difficult decision that will unfortunately impact some of our customers, partners, (employees) and the surrounding communities, these actions are absolutely necessary as we continue to strengthen A&P’s operating foundation and improve our performance,” Martin said.

“As part of the store closing process, A&P will work to facilitate future store assignments based on (employees’) collective bargaining agreements,” he said.

No plans have been announced for what, if anything, will come to replace the 58,643 square foot retail property.

Vornado Realty Trust, which owns the land containing the store and parking lot, has declined comment on the situation, according to spokesman Mark Semer.

Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos called the pending closure “disappointing to hear. We’ll be losing a key retail establishment on Passaic Ave. I’m hoping we will work with Vornado to attract a quality retailer to that site.”

Santos added: “The supermarket industry in general is facing challenging times. When there were bankruptcies and a round of supermarket closings last year, we were all relieved that the Kearny location wasn’t on the list. The supermarket business tends to be competitive and we have a relatively high number for the small geographic area we’re in.”

A&P, once the owner of 16,000 stores in the 1930s, has a bit more than 300 left, according to Wikipedia. Faced with an increased debt load to complete the purchase of the Pathmark chain, it closed 25 stores in October 2010 and in December 2010 it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Thirty-two more stores closed in Spring 2011 and another 25 folded in July 2011. In November 2011, the company announced it would get nearly $500 million in debt and equity financing from private investors to facilitate a private restructuring, subject to Bankruptcy Court approval, by early 2012.

If A&P had been thinking of shedding its Kearny store, then one might wonder why the company only recently invested $65,000 in capital improvements to the facility, as reflected in records it filed with the Kearny UEZ (Urban Enterprise Zone) office in May 2011 when it looked to be recertified for inclusion in the UEZ zone.

UEZ files show that the Pathmark store employs 34 full-time and 82-part-time workers in various capacities but one union official said that as many as 129 employees, including managers and maintenance, would be affected.

Tommy Fuchs, a 38-year employee with A&P who has worked at the Kearny Pathmark since it opened 18 years ago and a shop steward with Local 1262, United Food & Commercial Workers union, which represents grocery and produce workers, said that members of his local and Local 464 (meat, deli and seafood) received federallymandated 60-day notices that the store will close March 10.

Fuchs, a Bloomfield resident, said that employees can exercise “bumping” rights by seniority to claim work in other stores “but there’s definitely going to be some job loss.”

Most of the workers live in Kearny, he said. “A lot of them drive,” said Fuchs, “but they could be transferred to stores in Ramsey or Elmora (a section of Elizabeth).”

Hourly wages range from about $10 to about $24 an hour, according to Fuchs.

Probably the most senior employee at the Kearny Pathmark is Belleville’s Frank Bambo, an assistant manager in the foods section now in his 41st year with A&P. “I never thought I’d see the day where they’d close,” he said. “The executives are still getting bonuses (but) in our last contract we gave back 4.8% of our pay because we were told if you don’t accept this, they’re going to close stores.”

It didn’t seem to matter.

Shoppers randomly interviewed at the store last week were all unhappy about the news.

Anne Caveney, who came with her twin sister Helen Caveney from Harrison, said: “I don’t want to see it close. It’s another loss for Kearny and for the economy and for the people working here.”

“It’s horrible,” said Newark shopper Yanya Lancaster, a loyal customer for the past 12 years. It’s her preferred store because “I know where everything is and I like the prices and the products.”

Kearny’s Dominique Zdichocki said she learned about the closing from two friends who work at the store, one for a decade and the other for about a year. Her friend Darlene Zuffanti added: “It’s just a shame it’s closing after all these years. It’s terrible what’s happening. The economy’s already bad and nobody’s hiring.”

Still, one employee managed to look back on his store experience with some pleasure.

Seafood clerk Paul Paternina posted this observation on Facebook: “As I speak with this elderly lady, as I steam her snow crab, I’m reminded why I stayed in this job in the first place: to help people, to help my customers, to make their lives a little better. It was never about the organization; it was always about helping others and putting smiles on their faces. No matter how small a position might seem, one is always in (a) position to make a difference in someone’s life.”




Man robs local bank; suspect still at large


By Anthony J. Machcinski

KEARNY — The Chase Bank, located on the corner of Kearny and Johnston Aves. was robbed in broad daylight on the morning of Jan. 10.

A male entered the bank around 10:03 a.m. and handed the teller a handwritten note, demanding $3,000. He then told the teller, “Don’t be stupid, I have a gun” – a claim that couldn’t be proven or disproven since he never physically produced the weapon.

The suspect (as described by Scene Incident Commander Det. Sergeant Robert Maguire) is described as a white or Hispanic male between 5’8” and 6’ tall and 35-45 years of age. Dressed in a 3/4 length jacket, dark pants and a wool hat with a scarf or a band covering his mouth, he has an average build and a larger than average nose. He walks slightly hunched over.

After leaving the bank with $2,000 the suspect moved south towards Johnston Ave. Initial reports mentioned that the suspect may have entered a car waiting on the Harrison border, but that report has since been disproved.

Kearny police and the F.B.I. are investigating the incident. Police collected evidence from the bank, as well as from the written note. It was then turned over to the F.B.I. in Washington, D.C. for analysis.

Maguire doesn’t feel that this robbery is part of a string. He believes that it was conducted as a “need for cash” robbery.

Officer John Plaugic will be the lead detective for the case.

Zoners ponder youth center, container yard

Image courtesy Nash Interior & Design Construction Management/ A rendering of the proposed St. Mary and St. Mercurius Coptic Church Youth Center with three levels of parking.


By Ron Leir

BELLEVILLE – A local police superior was recently asked for expert testimony about security issues involving a 128-foot diameter dome-shaped youth center proposed by St. Mary and St. Mercurius Orthodox Coptic Church on Academy St.

But he wasn’t speaking as a witness at a criminal trial.

For the benefit of the township’s Zoning Board of Adjustment, Belleville Police Capt. Victor Mesce was evaluating safety measures incorporated into the design for an elevatorequipped 128-foot diameter “monolithic dome” that would house a chapel, meeting rooms, a computer room, multipurpose room and kitchen for adolescent church members, plus three levels of parking below for 96 cars.

The board is weighing an application by the church to knock down three homes west of the church and build a youth center next to the existing church building.

The existing church – which was converted from a former synagogue in 2002 – would remain unchanged. It plans to share a 30-space surface parking lot with the nearby township Public Library at the east end of the site.

At the Jan. 5 zoning board session, Mesce, who also serves as deputy coordinator for the township’s Office of Emergency Management, credited the project’s safety features, including bollards proposed as safety barriers around the dome, surveillance cameras to be posted around the facility, electronic parking gates and color-coded parking stickers for the garage, and a “10-inch-thick” concrete surface for the dome which he called “phenomenal.”

“We’re looking at things in general that could happen,” Mesce said, “like if somebody tries to take a shot from outside (the dome).”

That comment raised the hackles of Academy St. neighbor Alex Gasparo, who, like other neighbors, have voiced concerns about safety and parking issues related to the project.

When Gasparo pressed for more information about safety precautions, board chairman Anthony DelGuercio said: “Anything can happen. We’ve had planes crash on the White House lawn. … The town had security concerns (about the project). Nothing’s foolproof – 9/11 is proof of that.”

William Edwards, the project’s engineer, said that motorists would use a “bi-directional driveway” on Academy St. to enter or exit the garage and Brian Intindola, the traffic engineer, predicted that Academy St. “could process” the volume of cars that the garage and surface parking would generate, given that there are currently an average of between 600 and 700 vehicles that travel along the street each day.

In a phone interview, project designer Ralph Nashed said that development of the youth center would solve two problems for the church, which, he said, has more than 300 individual members.

First, he said, the congregation, mostly immigrant Coptic Christians from Egypt, “wants to have a place where a new generation of American-born, English-speaking youth, can learn the Coptic language and also have a Mass in the English language. They need a chapel, meeting rooms and a place for education so they can learn how to serve the community.”

As for parking, Nashed said, the neighbors won’t have to worry because “we will park every congregant’s car within the premises of church land.” Traffic will flow smoothly in and out and the church plans to create a 30-space lot it plans to share with the nearby Belleville Library, he said.

Photo by Ron Leir/ Roosevelt Ave. residents are upset over plans for a roll-off container yard proposed for the property behind them.


“If the board votes ‘yes,’ this will be an historic milestone for New Jersey, the first monolithic dome of this size to be built in New Jersey,” Nashed said. “It will be a victory for Belleville, a solution for the neighborhood and a blessing for the church.”

Nashed said a mechanical exhaust system would be installed in the underground portion of the garage while the two levels above would be left open to natural air. The youth center space will be equipped with HVAC systems, he said.

Nashed estimated that the dome would cost $5 million and would take six months to a year to complete. The second phase – the surface parking project – would follow, he said.

“In this project, we have in mind to merge history, culture and technology in this project,” he said.

The zoning board is due to reconvene a public hearing on the church’s application Feb. 2. The church is represented by attorney Frank Cozzarelli.

At that meeting, the board is also expected to continue its review of an application by Peter Garofalo to acquire property in the Valley section, at 95-107 Roosevelt Ave., for a roll-off container storage yard on a 17,600 square foot lot and a 700-square foot offi ce. Garofalo currently operates out of Garfi eld and Passaic.

Plans call for 40 container units, each about 35-feet long, to be stored on the site, which was previously used as a truck terminal and is now zoned for “light industrial/planned retail.” The project would account for six new jobs.

Garofalo plans to plant 43 trees and extend fencing at the site to create a buffer between the storage yard and neighboring homes in the rear of the property along Greylock Ave.

Garofalo is projecting six trips a day between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. but even that volume seems oppressive to disapproving neighbors who’ve signed a petition to stop the project.

Jeff Mattingly, a local business owner who is spearheading the opposition, told the board at the Jan. 5 meeting that, “Roosevelt Avenue is a quiet street with minimal activity where the remaining industries and residents get along.”

But Mattingly said residents fear that the proposed roll-off venture will be “noisy and dirty – that’s why they’re generally in heavy industrial sites.”

And, despite Garofalo’s assurances that the containers will be empty when stored in the yard, Mattingly said it’s still possible that the residue of dust and/or possible toxins from construction debris tipped out of the containers may remain, only to be spread through the neighborhood by wind and/or rain.

Several residents speculated that Garofalo’s proposed enterprise could grow, thereby increasing the prospect for additional truck traffic in the neighborhood.

Resident Raphael Jimenez said he was concerned about the safety of children who “walk to School 9,” just a block and a half away from the project site. And, he said, the new business could scare off his tenant.

“How am I going to sustain my property taxes without my tenant?” Jimenez asked.

His wife, Deby, added: “This is a very quiet block. You could basically hear a pin drop. And it’s a very clean street.”

Still, zoning board member George Smith suggested that Garofalo’s plan “is a very less intense use” that what the township zoning code permits for that site in terms of the number of trucks that could be parked there.

The board will take up the case again on Feb. 2.

A WORD WITH THE PUBLISHER: Remember human workers?




By Lisa Pezzolla

Last week as I was speaking to a customer she brought up an interesting idea on how to increase jobs in America. As the conversation progressed we grew more passionate about the topic. Honestly, if the woman hadn’t received a business call that she absolutely had to take, we would have been ranting and raving for hours.

In the past I’ve commented on the new technology and how it has changed the way that we do business on a daily basis. From emails, faxes and texts, to automated phone systems, there is very little human input or interaction these days.

My biggest pet peeve is how we have become dependent on this way of doing business. Sadly, things often get lost in translation when there is no one to talk to at the opposite end: “Press one for sales… Press two for customer service… ” Press this, press that! Before you know it you find yourself throwing the phone across the room out of sheer frustration. It goes without saying that nothing gets accomplished in the process.

Here’s a thought: We could increase jobs if we actually started using people to answer these phones. Which reminds me, how about the toll collectors? In the days before EZPass you could find them at every exit. Now? Good luck.

And they actually call this progress

Belleville Police Blotter

Jan. 12

At 3.10 p.m. Officers on patrol observed a man walking on the 600 block Washington Ave. openly drinking a container of beer. The man, Mario Perez, 42, of Belleville was issued a town summons for drinking in public.

Jan. 11

At 8:58 a.m. a victim stated that he had parked his 1998 red, four door Mazda in front of 36 Watchung Ave. When he went to move the vehicle to allow for street cleaning, he noticed that the vehicle was missing. The vehicle was recovered later that day in Newark.

At 4:11 p.m. a resident at 2 Elana Pl. contacted police to report that his 2005 white Ford van was missing. The owner explained that he had loaned the vehicle to an employee who had later called him to tell him that the vehicle was taken. Luckily, an onboard GPS system pointed police in the direction of Jersey City where the vehicle was later recovered.

At 6:52 p.m. a gas attendant at the Pit Stop gas station, 190 Franklin Ave., called police to alert them to a strong-arm robbery that had just occurred at the station. The attendant told police that he noticed a man walked towards him. When he entered the store, he asked the attendant for change for the soda machine. He returned a moment asking for cigarettes. When the attendant turned his back to fetch the cigarettes, he noticed that the man was going through his cash drawer. When he turned around to confront the thief, the man yelled, “Give me your money” and forcibly took $120 off of the attendant’s person before fleeing. Police describe the suspect as black, 6”2” tall and 180 lbs. He was last seen wearing black pants, black jacket and a black hat. Police are investigating.

At 7:22 p.m. a man contacted police to report an attempted burglary at his Cedar Hill Ave home. The man’s sister stated that her brother had left the house at 5:45 p.m. When he returned, he noticed that a patio chair had been moved on an attached deck. He also noticed that a window was now open and a screen was down. No evidence of entry was found, and nothing was discovered missing.

Jan. 9

At 9:43 p.m. a police unit patrolling Franklin St. noticed a male suspect suspiciously looking through parked car windows. After they interviewed John Sanchez, 25, of Kearny they discovered that he carried a $100 warrant out of Newark. He was released on his own recognizance.

Jan 8

At 8:17 a.m. an employee coming off of the overnight shift at the Clara Maass Professional Building reported that his red 1996 Honda Civic 2-door incurred damage in what was likely an attempt to steal it. The victim noted that the passenger window and door lock had sustained damage, and that the steering column showed signs of tampering.

At 9:40 a.m. the owner of a beige 2008 Nissan Pathfinder reported that someone had attempted to steal the vehicle from a parking lot where he had left it since Jan. 5. The owner stated that the driver’s side window was in the down position. He added that the door lock and ignition had also been tampered with.

At 11:35 a.m. police were summoned to the Pathmark at 115 Belmont Ave. on a shoplifting complaint. Store detectives reported that they observed the suspect, 37-year-old Agustin Camacho of Newark stuff eight cans of baby formula into a laundry bag and proceed towards the door where they detained him until police arrived. Camacho was transported to headquarters and charged with shoplifting. He is being held on $500 bail at the County Jail.

At 4:57 p.m. police observed a white Dodge van moving at a high rate of speed. The vehicle was stopped at the intersection of Heckle and Brook Sts. Police found that the driver, William L. Benenato, 43, from Lincoln Pk. was driving with a suspended license. He was charged with careless driving and driving while suspended and released on $50 bail.

At 8:04 p.m. the owner of a rare 1986 Buick Grand National black 2-door called police to report that the car had been stolen while it was parked in front of the Providence Bar at Heckle and Jeraldo Sts. According to the victim, the robbery occurred somewhere between 4:30 – 8:04. The victim claimed that the Grand National, considered highly collectible, is worth in excess of $85,000.

Around Town


Bloomfield Public Library’s Book Club will meet on Monday, Feb. 6, from 6:45 to 7:50 p.m. in the conference room to discuss “Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides.

Jeffrey Eugenides dazzling second novel tells the story of a Greek-American hermaphrodite. For further information or to request help in locating a copy of the book club selection, please call the Reference Desk at 973-566- 6200, ext 502. Admission is free.

The Bloomfield Public Library is pleased to present a seminar called “Basics of Banking” on Jan.18 at 2 p.m.

Participants will learn how to recognize the major types of insured financial institutions, basic banking terms, recognize differences between banks and check-cashing services, identify bank employees and their jobs, and the types of accounts and banking services. The program will be presented by Melissa Jaipal, the local branch manager at Sovereign Bank in Bloomfield. She has been with the bank for five months, and has over six years experience in banking.

For more information on this event or upcoming programs, please call (973) 566-6200, ext. 502.

The library will host a seminar called “Saving for College: Understanding Your Options” on Jan. 21 at 10 a.m., presented by Geraldine Callahan, a seasoned financial professional with nearly 10 years in financial services. For more information on this event or upcoming programs please call (973) 566-6200, ext. 502.

The library will host “Keeping it Safe: Identity Protection Education” on Jan. 27 at 2 p.m. This seminar will give you general information on laws that protect consumers. Further information can be found by using the resources listed in your Take-Home Guide, that will be provided. The program will be presented by Melissa Jaipal,

For more information on this event or upcoming programs, please call (973) 566-6200, ext. 502.

“Business Banking 101” will be presented at the library on Jan. 31 at 2 p.m., by Melissa Jaipal For more information on this event or upcoming programs, please call (973) 566-6200, ext. 502.

An educational presentation on Chinese culture will be presented at the library on Jan. 25 at 2 p.m. The program will focus on Chinese history and a brief overview of key dynasties, on classic stories and fascinating characters from Chinese literature, and on classical Chinese dance (Shen Yun) and Chinese musical instruments.

For more information on this event or upcoming programs, please call (973) 566-6200, ext. 502.

“Maximizing your Social Security Benefits” will be presented at the library on Jan. 25 at 6:30 p.m.

Confused about social security? Learn how to maximize your social security retirement benefits. The seminar will presented by Geraldine Callahan. For more information on this event or upcoming programs, please call (973) 566-6200, ext. 502.


Registration for the spring 2012 semester of the Kearny Adult School will be held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 23, 24 and 25, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the main office of Kearny High School, 336 Devon St. Brochures indicating course offerings are currently in the mail. If you did not receive one, you may pick up a copy at The Observer, Kearny Library or the Kearny Board of Education office, 100 Davis Ave. For additional information, you may call the Kearny Adult School at 201-955-1392.

Kearny Branch Library, 759 Kearny Ave., will host a special art project honoring Martin Luther King Jr. for children ages 4 and up on Thursday, Jan. 26, at 4 p.m. with art teacher Mrs. Mills. The program will be free of charge. Please bring one or two shoeboxes to make “floats of respect.” All other supplies will be provided by the library. For further information, please call the Main Library at (201) 998-2666.

Check the library’s website www.kearnylibrary.org for more program information.

The Heaven Cent Thrift Shop, located at First Presbyterian Church, 663 Kearny Ave. Kearny, is open on Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is a great selection of new and gently used clothing, as well as small household goods. Stop in for great bargains. Donations are always welcome. Use upper Laurel Avenue door.


The Woman’s Club of Lyndhurst has placed a decorated Valentine box for veterans on each floor of the Lyndhurst Public Library. Please support this project by placing a valentine card in one of the boxes for a veteran.

The Lyndhurst Health Department will begin a monthly health lecture series, in conjunction with Clara Maass Medical Center. The first lecture will be held on Friday, Jan. 20, starting at 10 a.m. A light breakfast will be served. January’s lecture topic will be First Aid for Seniors. Please call the Lyndhurst Health Department at 201-804-2500 to reserve a seat.

The Health Department’s Monday night meditation series resumes on Monday, Feb. 6, at 6 p.m. There is no fee or pre-registration required. The classes are lead by Lyndhurst resident Parbatie Singh, who was trained at the Oneness University in India and has become a teacher in meditation. This class includes techniques to help with stress and depression, to help one feel a sense of and relaxation.

The winter-spring session of chair yoga, held in conjunction with the Meadowlands Area YMCA, begins on Friday, Feb. 10, at 11:30 a.m. for Lyndhurst residents at the Health Department. There is no fee for this program. Please call 201-804-2500 to register. Registration forms are available at the Health Department.

The winter-spring session of yoga and Zumba will begin on Feb. 6 at the Health Department. There is a $45 fee for Lyndhurst residents and a $75 fee for non-Lyndhurst residents for a 15-week session consisting of one class per week. The following classes are being offered: Yoga on Mondays at 5 p.m., Zumba on Mondays at 7 p.m., Zumba on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. or 7 p.m., and Zumba Gold on Thursdays 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. Please call 201-804-2500 for more information. Registration forms are available at the Health Department.

On Tuesday, Jan. 31, starting at 2:30 p.m., a veteran’s ward party will be held at Chestnut Extended Care facility, in Passaic, American Legion Post 139, Lyndhurst, will provide games of chance that will be played with refreshments to follow for including bed-ridden veterans. An anonymous family is sponsoring the party. If you want more information on how to sponsor a party, please call John Deveney at 201-438-2255.

The New Jersey Federation of Women’s Clubs is sponsoring a beefsteak dinner fundraiser for Gilda’s Club on Saturday, March 24 at the Lyndhurst senior building. Cost is $45. (snow date will be Sunday, March 25, at 1 p.m.). Featured is comedian/ventriloquist John Pizzi. Anyone interested in purchasing tickets should contact District State Project Chairman Annette Bortone at 201-438-1852 or co-chair of the event Jackie Reformato at 201-935-3567. No one under 18 is permitted.

North Arlington

Senior Harmony Club of North Arlington has scheduled the following trips to the Taj Mahal on Tuesday, Feb. 7, and Tuesday, March 6. You do not have to be a member of the club to attend. For information or to make a reservation, call Florence at 201-991-3173.


Alex Lidell, young adult fantasy author, will share her knowledge of the commercial publishing process at the next meeting of Nutley Public Library’s Pen to Prose Writing Group on Jan. 23 at 6:30 p.m. Alex Lidell is a young adult author and Nutley resident. Her fantasy novel “Cadet of Tildor”, a finalist in Amazon’s 2010 ABNA competition, is upcoming from Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin). Learn more about Lidell at www.alexlidell.com. Lidell will remain with the group for the critique session.

BabyGarten for Infants and Toddlers, from birth to 22 months, and their caregivers, will be held at the Nutley Public Library on Monday, Feb. 6, 13 and 27 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The program includes books, nursery rhymes, playtime, and meet other babies from the Nutley area. Registration is required.

The library’s Monday Night Book Club will meet on Monday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. to discuss “A Death in the Family” by James Agee. The group meets on the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m. Newcomers are welcome.

Obesity is nationwide threat to health

There are 1 billion overweight individuals worldwide who add to society’s modern epidemic: obesity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has tracked the cumulative weight gain of our society by state. Results can be viewed at: www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/ trends.html.

The findings point to the fact that nearly three out of four Americans are presently overweight and this obesity epidemic has become so severe that the CDC now refers to our society as “obesogenic” – or one that promotes increased food intake, nonhealthy foods, and physical inactivity.

Things are so bad that our government has created a task force to combat obesity called “The Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity” (DNPAO). Despite such concerns, public schools are dropping physical education classes, community recreational centers are closing, and fast-food chains are popping up at an alarming rate. The situation is so bad that doctors and scientists alike point their finger at obesity as the root cause of our national healthcare crisis.

Consider: In a 2007 study conducted by The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services it was reported that:

• 80% of type II diabetes is related to obesity.

• 70% of cardiovascular disease is related to obesity.

• 42% of breast and colon cancer cases are diagnosed among obese individuals.

• 26% of obese people have high blood pressure.

These figures clearly show that obesity is far too common in our society. The problem has become so worrisome that President Obama addressed the issue in a nationally televised speech. The moral is simply this: We as a people must stand up against obesity by learning to adopt healthy eating habits. Combined with exercise, such a change will place us firmly on the path to longevity.

Please submit questions to: Dr. Diego Ruiz, 582 Franklin Ave., Nutley, N.J. 07110 973-661-4601 or Dr.Ruiz@OptionsRehab. com


Dr. Diego Ruiz

A graduate of Life University’s School of Chiropractic, Dr. Ruiz is the founder and rehabilitation director of Options Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Center. An active member of the local community, Dr. Ruiz is fluent in Spanish, and, with his wife Rosalie, founded AUTISM ANGELS, which is a charity that supports economically challenged parents of children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. He is certified in Manipulation Under Anesthesia, Diagnostic Nerve Conduction Testing, and Active Release Technique. Dr. Ruiz is also a contributing health columnist for various publications.

Resident, local businessman implicated in drug sales

By Ron Leir

NUTLEY – A two-year investigation by the Nutley Police Dept. concluded Jan. 12 with the arrest of a resident and a local businessman who’ve been implicated in a drug dealing scheme.

On the night of Jan. 12 police arrested Thomas Giardina, 55, of Nutley, and John Pino, 38, who lives in Union and runs a business in Nutley, on various drug-related charges.

Armed with a search warrant, Nutley Police – accompanied by Essex County Sheriff’s Officers and a K-9 unit – searched Giardina’s Essex St. home and found “several thousand dollars worth” of drugs, which police seized.

Police also impounded a 2000 Pontiac that they said Giardina was using.

On the basis of a lengthy investigation, police said they believed that Giardina, who works as a painter, was dealing prescription narcotics and cocaine from his Nutley home. “We’ve had him in our crosshairs for some time,” one detective said.

Giardina was charged with five counts of drug distribution, two counts of drug possession and three counts of possession of drug paraphernalia for distribution and was ordered held at the Essex County Jail, Newark, in lieu of $175,000 bail.

Through their investigation, police said they determined that Pino was an accomplice in the illicit drug enterprise. Police said Pino’s business is legitimate but declined to identify it.

Police said a search of Pino’s Nutley business on Franklin Ave. turned up additional drugs – cocaine and a series of prescription medications – which police confiscated.

Pino was charged with two counts of drug possession, drug possession with intent to distribute, drug possession with intent to distribute within 500 feet of a school, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a prohibited weapon. He was released pending a court hearing.

Nutley Police Director Alphonse Petracco said: “Drugs will not be tolerated in this town any longer.” He joined Police Chief John Holland in commending the Detective Bureau for its investigative work.

In an apparently unrelated drug case, on Jan. 9 at 9:00 p.m., police arrested Massimo Luele, 34, at his River Road home in Nutley on charges of possession of drugs near a school, possession with intent to distribute, possession of hypodermic needles and possession of drugs. He’s being held at Essex County Jail, Newark, on $125,000 bail with no 10% cash option.

Petracco reiterated that these arrests are meant to let suspected drug offenders “know we intend to go after them if they bring, sell or use drugs in our town.”

In other criminal activities logged by Nutley Police during the past week:

Jan. 12

At 8:13 p.m., a Cedar St. resident reported that someone, who identified themselves as a Microsoft representative, called to clean the resident’s computer. The resident gave the caller her credit card information, only to discover that the call was fraudulent. She told police she canceled her card.

At 4:16 p.m., a PSE&G worker reported a Caterpillar Track Loader had been stolen from a work site on Cook Road. Police are investigating.

At 11:53 a.m. the manager of a local confectionary store on Franklin Ave. reported that someone had made a transaction using a $100 bill that turned out to be counterfeit. Police are checking into the situation.

Jan. 11

At 12:45 p.m., police pulled over the driver of a 1998 Nissan along Rt. 21 who was wanted by Bergen County authorities. Alix Elie, 52, of Belleville, was held at headquarters for pickup by Bergen County Police. It couldn’t be learned why Elie was being sought.

At 9:28 a.m., police stopped another motorist on Rt. 21 wanted by Tinton Falls authorities on outstanding warrants. Rui Lopes, 21, of New Rochelle, N.Y., was released after posting $300 bail.

Jan. 10

At 8:12 p.m., a Friedland Road resident reported that the side view mirror on their 2008 Nissan Wagon was gone. The resident was unsure whether it had been knocked off by a passing vehicle or removed.

At 12:21 a.m., police went to a parking lot on Franklin Ave. near Harrison St. to check on a report of a fight. They learned that two men had been fighting and one had bitten the other. Police advised them of their right to sign complaints and let them go.

Jan. 9

At 6:47 p.m., two Nutley teenage girls were reported missing after they failed to show up for school earlier that day. Investigation disclosed that one of the teens had befriended a boy from Morris County online and took a bus to meet him. Police eventually located the girls – unharmed – in Totowa. Police said the boy allegedly hid the girls in his garage. One of the girl was released to the custody of her parents, who’d gone to Totowa to search for their daughter and her friend. Nutley detectives took the other girls home. Authorities are exploring whether to bring charges against the boy, police said.

At 10:02 a.m., a Newark Ave. resident told police a hard luck story. The resident had paid a contractor $5,000 to do a job nearly six months ago but the job has remained undone and no sign of the contractor. Police advised the resident how to sign the appropriate complaints.

At 10:00 a.m., an employee of a Washington Ave. business told police someone had stolen a luggage bag containing several manuscripts from near his work locker. Police are investigating.

Jan. 8

At 8:06 p.m., a Howe St. resident notified police about a possible scam. The resident said someone called from Texas asking for personal identifying information over the phone so that the resident could claim $2.5 million in winnings. Police said they were unable to make contact with the caller.

At 6:09 p.m., police drove to a Franklin Ave. residence after someone called about water pouring from the east side of the building. Police and firefighters managed to get inside and shut off the water. Township code offi cials are following up.

Jan. 7

At 4:43 p.m., a Swathmore Drive resident called to report someone had scrawled drawings on her garage door. Police are investigating.

At 2:24 p.m., Raymond Ave. parents reported their 12-yearold son missing when he reportedly slept out without notifying them. Detectives managed to learn where the boy was through a cell phone location and found him safe with friends on Hawthorne Ave.

At 11:12 a.m., a Ridge Rd. resident called police to report the disappearance of an illuminated Christmas tree from the front of the house.

Jan. 6

At 10:12 p.m., a tenant’s complaint of no heat brought police to a Centre St. apartment building to investigate. Police were told there were small children living in a heatless apartment. Police advised the landlord and referred the complaint to township code offi cials.

At 9:04 p.m. police repeatedly warned a youth not to recklessly skateboard along Centre St. before notifying the youth’s parents.

At 8:03 p.m., an attendant at a Centre St. gas station told police that a driver in a red pickup had sped away after getting gas and not paying. Police are investigating. At 3:43 p.m., a resident complained to police that several items were missing from their car after it was detailed at a local car wash. Police are investigating.

At 3:29 p.m., police went to a Colonial Terrace location to check on the report of a fi ght. Reports indicate that two brothers were quarreling and that one of them jumped on the hood of the other’s vehicle as it was moving and that he fell off, causing a minor injury.

At 12:49 p.m., police met with administrators at Nutley High School after it was determined that one of the students was stealing items from various lockers. Charges are pending. At 3:15 a.m., police went to a Centre St. eatery on a report of an unruly patron. Police persuaded the customer to leave without further trouble.

Belleville police go high tech to search for missing children

Belleville Police Department’s Chief of Police Joseph P. Rotunda has formalized an agreement with the A Child is Missing Alert Program. That has led to a high tech method now in place to search locally for missing children, missing elderly (often with Alzheimer’s), college students, and missing person who may be mentally or physically challenged or disabled.

Effective Feb, 1, 2012 upon receipt of missing persons calls, the Belleville Police Dept. will make its f irst phone call to a toll-free number that rings in Ft. Lauderdale Fl. – the national headquarters of the A Child is Missing Alert Program.

The call, answered around the clock by an information and mapping technician, initiates a rapid process of information gathering and use of sophisticated mapping systems. A Child is Missing then launches potentially thousands of calls within minutes with an alert message detailing the missing person’s description, last known whereabouts and pertinent information. This alert message will also include a Belleville Police Department phone number for use by anyone with information relating to the missing person.

This program is a free service to law enforcement. Belleville officials will evaluate each potential activation of the A Child is Missing Alert Program to ensure the application is appropriate to the case and to ensure the system is optimally used.

Phone numbers that are called by the program include listed numbers and mobile numbers available to ACIM in the selected area. Mobile numbers, unlisted numbers, broadband/voiceover IP numbers, or TDD/ TTY devices can be added to ensure that they, too, are called in the event of an alert. To enter your cell phone, unlisted, broadband/ voice-over IP or TDD/TTY device number visit www. achildismissing.org and click on “add your name” to enter your name, number and address. This information will only be used for emergency message alerts.